President Bush is beginning a five-nation tour of Africa to promote democratic reform and economic advancement and to review progress in public-health campaigns against malaria and the AIDS virus.
Ahead of his departure from Washington Friday, Mr. Bush said he will review the progress African nations have made with help from U.S. assistance programs. He told reporters that Americans are compassionate people who want to help African families fight hunger and disease.
Mr. Bush also met (earlier) Friday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who says the president's trip to Africa is an "important and historic" mission. Mr. Bush hailed Mr. Ban's efforts to end conflict and promote stability in Africa. The president is scheduled to visit Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia during his seven-day trip.