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Vol 41 No 25

Published 22nd December 2000

Africa - where's that?

Expect a more commercial and less sentimental foreign policy under George W. Bush

The bizarre twists in the saga of the United States' presidential election have kept millions of Africans entertained, especially those at the receiving end of Western lectures about ballot rigging and nepotism. Now, with the belated confirmation of George W. Bush as the 43rd US President, the saga looks less entertaining to many African governments. Most of them knew and liked Bush's opponent, Vice-President Al Gore, who had developed an understanding of African political affairs, as well as of wider environmental and economic ones. 'Dubya', as George W.'s friends call him, has none of the above and doesn't look keen to acquire it. When asked about Africa during his campaign, he replied that the USA had no vital strategic interests there on a par with those in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Africans shouldn't feel too insulted: when asked by a journalist, he also failed to recall the names of the Indian and Pakistani heads of state.

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