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African Presidents Express Support for Bush Africa Initiative


In VOA interviews, three African presidents discuss President Bush's iniative to promote democracy and economic development in Africa.

Washington, D.C., June 16, 2005 -- Three African presidents visiting Washington this week stressed strong support of U.S. President George W. Bush's initiative to promote democracy and economic development in Africa during a series of interviews with the Voice of America (VOA).

In television interviews with VOA's Africa Journal host Vincent Makori, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and President John Kufuor of Ghana discussed the need to improve democracy and economic freedom and stability for the people of Africa. Other topics included the upcoming G-8 Summit, debt-cancellation, democracy-building, and increased U.S.-African trade.

President Pohamba of Namibia encouraged all Africans, particularly African leaders, to join in the fight for democracy. "Democracy is irreversible. Democracy is here to stay [in Namibia]," said Pohamba. "We have to work for democracy in our countries, and a democracy, in most cases, is expressed through elections, through the wishes of the people," he added.

Ghana President Kufor praised the recent G-8 finance ministers' decision to cancel billions in debt owed by the world's poorest nations, adding, "Every bit of aid counts towards reducing Africa's debt burden."

In a radio interview with VOA's Hausa Service on Wednesday, President Tandja Mamadu of Niger identified poverty, hunger, and bad politicians as the greatest threat to the development of viable democracy in Niger and most parts of Africa. "Developing a viable democracy in a poor country such as Niger where poverty and hunger are commonplace is often difficult, " he said. "We told President Bush that we need help in these areas if democracy is to have a foothold."

The interviews can be found on VOA's website at www.VOANews.com.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages including English.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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