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General News of Monday, 18 February 2008

Source: Accra Mail

Bush to Spend More Time in Ghana

George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, First Lady Laura Bush and a team of officials are expected to arrive in Ghana at 7:30pm tomorrow, Tuesday February 19 and depart on Thursday February 21.

President Bush and his wife Laura would be in the country to discuss developmental issues, including the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. In his entourage would be as many as 80 journalists.

The five-nation African tour include Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. He is expected to spend more days in Ghana than all the other countries. His predecessor, Bill Clinton, when he visited Ghana, spent only 8 hours.

Mr. Christopher Hodges, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Ghana explained: "Ghana has a special place in his heart; he has met President Kufuor several times during his administration that is why he tried to put a lot of events in one day to capitalize and highlight many different aspects of Ghana-United States cooperation."

Mr. Hodges noted that Africa's relationship with America is very strong in areas that "we all consider are very important like humanitarian issues, protecting ourselves against drugs and things like that. It is a partnership, it is not a top-down relationship, it is not imposition, it is a partnership among equals on issues of great concern".

President Bush and his entourage will hold closed door talks with President Kufuor and his team, which are expected to centre on the Africa Union, Millennium Development Goals, humanitarian issues and regional security.

On Wednesday, President Bush will have lunch with the American Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana. He will be at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre to meet some of the exporters operating under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), learn more about the West Africa Trade Hub under USAID and interact with traditional leaders.

He will visit the Ghana International School where he is expected to play a game of T-ball (baseball) with the students - a game he is passionate about and would donate baseball equipment to the school. In 1989, he assembled a group of partners to purchase the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Mrs. Laura Bush will not be everywhere with the husband, she will also be doing her own things alongside President Bush's agenda. She will first visit the Mallam D/A 1 and 2 Primary School in the Ga East District in Accra and follow her programme up to the Maamobi Polyclinic and Maamobi Nutrition Rehabilitation Center where she will be participating in a Cooking Demonstration and a Malaria Bednet Retreatment Demonstration.

On President Bush's commitment to Africa Mr. Chris Hodges said he was hopeful that President Bush will leave "a positive legacy" in Africa when he leaves office this year.

President Kufuor would host President and Mrs. Bush to a state dinner at the Banquet Hall in Accra on Wednesday.

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