George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following a Meeting With President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania

August 29, 2008

President Bush. It is such an honor to welcome a man I've come to admire a lot to the Oval Office, President Kikwete of Tanzania. He comes representing a great country; he also comes representing the African Union. And therefore, we've had a wide-ranging discussion about our bilateral relations, as well as the President's kindly giving me a briefing on how he sees the different situations and opportunities on the continent of Africa.

Laura and I will never forget our trip to your country. First of all, it's a beautiful country. The people were so gracious and so friendly. And I came back to America telling our fellow citizens how proud they would have been to have seen the outpouring of affection for the American people, as a result of the American people's generosity in such matters as education or HIV/AIDS or the President's Malaria Initiative.

I am confident in saying to the American people that your money is being spent wisely and compassionately in Tanzania. And a lot of it has to do with the leadership of the President. He stood up and said, "We've got a problem, and I'm going to take the lead." And his Government has been responsive to the needs of the people.

And, Mr. President, I can't thank you enough, on behalf of the American people, for your compassion and your leadership.

I also am looking forward to continuing our discussions on issues like Zimbabwe or Darfur. These are issues that the President is most familiar with. It's the President— issues in which he has got good judgment about how to proceed on these matters.

And so, Mr. President, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you here to the Oval Office.

President Kikwete. Thank you. Well, thank you, President. First, I thank you for the invitation. It's an honor for me, it's an honor for Tanzania, it's an honor for Africa. Well, I came here to say thank you very much on behalf of the people of Africa, on behalf of the people of Tanzania. You have done so much for Africa——

President Bush. Thank you.

President Kikwete. ——so much for Tanzania. When you compare, no U.S. President has done so much for Africa and for Tanzania as you have done.

AGOA has been extended. It extends the horizons of the possibilities of economic growth in Africa. PEPFAR is helping us tackle the HIV/AIDS scourge. Many lives— many, many children now who were—who would have been orphaned are no longer orphaned because of that. PMI has helped us so much in the fight against malaria. Many innocent lives of children—women and children are being saved. And Tanzania is one of those examples of the great successes of PMI.

Malaria in Zanzibar has almost been— is being eliminated now. In the past, there used to be 50 percent cases being reported in hospital; now it's only 1 percent that's been reported in hospital, thanks to PMI.

And there are a number—of course, our biggest challenge now in Zanzibar is how to sustain that success, because only 20 miles on the mainland, in Dar es Salaam, malaria is still there. So if people go to Zanzibar with malaria, then the problem is—our biggest challenge is how to sustain it. And we are working together with the PMI and CDC on how to respond to this kind of situations.

Of course, with the MCA, again, the support you've given us to infrastructure development in the country, it's again—it helps us build the capacity to tackle poverty and inland development in the country.

So all that I can say really—I came here to say thank you so much for the support. Well, of course, you saw it yourself when you came home, how the people came in huge numbers——

President Bush. They were.

President Kikwete. ——huge numbers. I was even amazed when they poured in the streets. There the issue was really to express their appreciation to you and to the people of the United States for the generous support that you have been extending to our country.

Of course, we discussed the issues on the continent. We again—we thank you for your leadership. We'll continue to work together. Zimbabwe is a common problem. Darfur is a common problem. We are in the frontline. But of course, when those of us who are on the frontline always look toward—look to the rear—[laughter]—to continue to support us. And there has been such extraordinary support of us in the continent. We continue to work together.

President Bush. Thank you.

President Kikwete. I thank you, President.

President Bush. Thank you, sir.

Thank you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:50 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Meeting With President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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