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Obama, Bush Appear Together In Tanzania; First Ladies Discuss Women’s Health At Conference

President Barack Obama concluded his weeklong Africa tour on Tuesday, “with an unusual double act with his predecessor George W. Bush,” Agence France-Presse/France 24 reports (7/2). At “a brief, silent appearance together at a monument to victims of the 1998 embassy bombing” in Dar es Salaam, Obama and Bush “found common ground … honoring the victims of a terrorist attack in an unprecedented chance encounter a world away from home,” the Associated Press writes. “While the two U.S. leaders didn’t say anything publicly, their wives engaged in a … joint appearance at a summit on African women,” the news service notes (Pickler/Pace, 7/2). U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama “helped Laura Bush open a summit of the wives of African leaders, saying Africa was ‘at the hub of global development,’” according to Reuters, which adds, “The summit aims to promote women’s well-being on the continent.” The news service writes, “The unusual Obama-Bush combination spotlights U.S. interest in the continent and the importance of Africa to the legacy of the president and his predecessor” (Felsenthal, 7/2).

After arriving on Monday in Dar es Salaam, Obama “announced a new venture, dubbed ‘Trade Africa,’ that aims to increase the flow of goods between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa,” the AP reports in a separate article (Pace, 7/1). In another article, the AP notes, “Obama praised Bush’s funding for AIDS treatment in particular during a news conference with President Jakaya Kikwete, shortly after his arrival” (Pickler/Pace, 7/1). But “even as he praised the work” of Bush, “Obama defended his administration’s efforts in Africa on Monday,” according to The Hill (Parnes, 7/1). “Obama disputed a Washington Post story Monday that [discussed] funding for programs to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa,” the Washington Post notes, adding, “The program is treating four times as many people as it did when it began in 2003, Obama said, and it has reduced costs considerably.” Obama “said his administration has shifted some of the savings to other global health initiatives, including tuberculosis and malaria alleviation,” the newspaper adds, noting he “emphasized that Bush deserves ‘enormous credit’ for PEPFAR, which has saved millions of lives” (Nakamura, 7/1). ABC News provides video footage of Obama speaking at the press conference on Monday (7/1). The White House provides a fact sheet on U.S. global health investment and partnerships in Africa on its webpage (6/30).