The most popular living US president in Africa is not Barack Obama, whose election in 2008 prompted Kenya, the east African country where his father was born, to declare a national holiday. Nor was it Bill Clinton, despite the strong support he enjoyed from the African-American community and his rhetorical clasping of the continent. By some margin, the US president most respected in Africa is one George W Bush.

The main reason for Mr Bush’s enduring popularity is a health initiative he personally championed with the unpromising acronym of Pepfar. The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, one of the biggest global health initiatives in history, eclipsed anything that either presidents Obama or Clinton achieved in Africa. For Mr Bush, it has polished a legacy tarnished by misjudged adventures in the Middle East. 

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now