Former US President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura will visit Namibia next month, the visit will be focused on how to improve the lives of women and girls with access to education, health care, and economic opportunity leads to increased stability and security, and specifically how First Ladies address these issues in their countries.
The George W. Bush Institute yesterday announced that “President and Mrs. Bush will visit Botswana and Namibia April 4 – 6, 2017.”
“President and Mrs. Bush will visit programs supported by the First Lady of Namibia, Madame Monica Geingos, through her One Economy Foundation.
Additionally, President and Mrs. Bush will visit facilities in Windhoek being prepared for Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s expected service launch at health facilities across Namibia this spring,” reads the announcement on the Institute’s website.
Responding to questions from The Patriot regarding the visit, Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Namibia, Steve Mraz said: “The United States Embassy in Namibia looks forward to welcoming next month the visit of former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.
The former first couple will have an opportunity to engage with Namibian learners, leaders, empowered women, and beneficiaries of U.S. assistance. Given the positive effects the Bushes’ initiatives have had throughout Namibia, we fully anticipate their visit to the Land of the Brave will be both enriching and enjoyable.”
His visit comes 14 years after he announced in his 2003 State of the Union Address-then the US President-the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to combat global HIV/AIDS. Since 2003, the U.S. government has dedicated US$1.3 billion to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Namibia, saving thousands of Namibian lives.
In 2002, President Bush called for “a new compact for global development” and launched the Millennium Challenge Account, which from 2009 to 2014 provided more than US$300 million in Namibia toward education, tourism, and agriculture projects.
Bush’s visit to Namibia comes at a time when Namibia continue to make strides when it comes to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
But while the national picture might look positive, local health activists warn that much remains to be done.
Since leaving office in 2009, the former US President and his wife, Laura, have continued to stay active in global health issues in Africa, now taking on cancer.
The George W. Bush Institute embarked upon the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative to bring together both public and private investment to fight cervical and breast cancer in Africa.
Namibia is one of the countries that adopted the 2016 World Health Organisation guidelines as well as one of the few to adopt develop and adopt an investment case.
Namibia’s prevalence rate is estimated at 14.6%, placing it among the top ten countries in eastern and southern Africa. The estimated number of people living with HIV is estimated at 210 000. Surprisingly, of the 210 000, only 149 829 of those are on anti-retroviral treatment.
While Bush has been severely criticised for the invasion of Iraq, his green credentials and the general deterioration of relations with the rest of the world, his African record has won considerable support. The trip, President Bush’s seventh to Africa since leaving office, demonstrates President and Bush’s continued commitment to the people of Africa through the work of the George W. Bush Institute’s global leadership programs.