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Reflections on U.S. Policy in Africa, 2001–2009

Author: Jendayi E. Frazer, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Studies
Winter 2010
Fletcher Forum of World Affairs


Bold leadership, innovative initiatives, and unprecedented engagement and assistance defined the George W. Bush administration's policies toward Africa. From 2001 to 2008, U.S. efforts helped Africa enjoy significant progress on economic, health, and political fronts. This progress was made possible through a powerful combination of presidential leadership and cabinet-level engagement in the United States with uniquely African ideas, strategies, and solutions to meet challenges on the continent. Going forward, President Obama would do well to use these achievements as a roadmap for his own policies in the region.

Under the George W. Bush administration, Africa policy priorities were derived from the President's charge to make the world freer, safer, and more prosperous. Specifically, Africa policy aimed to support the spread of political freedom throughout the continent, expand economic opportunity and growth, address the unique challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases, and reinforce African initiatives to end conflict and fight terrorism. The Bush administration shared responsibilities in reaching these goals with Africans, especially with strategic allies and governments that have had strong records on democracy and the rule of law, and with the African Union (AU) and other sub-regional organizations.

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