675061_44765882President Obama, the First Lady, and other family members just concluded a controversial week-long official trip/vacation to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania.

The Obamas have visited in Africa before.

And it’s not the first time American leaders have sought to strengthen the bond between nations on the African Continent and the United States.

Beginning in 2003, the United States taxpayers, via the government, has been giving what might be described as “Smart Aid” to key African countries. Smart because the aid has shown real benefits, both social and political.

 Now, it’s become unfashionable, politically incorrect, and off-the-grid to praise the United States of America. 

Except if you’re Tanzanian. Or Zambian.

Or hail from one of the other African countries who have benefited tremendously from U.S. largesse.

Much of the populace in these countries see America as a benevolent force and says so. Openly. Not because they’re naive or brainwashed, but because the United States has done so much real good for their people.

Last year we focused on the radical nature of 4th of July.

This year, we want to share with you posts on the relationship between a few African countries, and the United States (including one famous, private citizen).

Overlapping African Visits: Presidents Obama and Bush (The NY Times)

Two hugely successful African Aid programs we can be proud of for their proven benefits (not to mention their transparency and accountability, unusual in government run programs, to be sure.)

The Millenium Challenge Corporation founded in 2004, perhaps the most transparent foreign aid government agency, distributes funds only after the country has met certain standards. Qualifying for the funds has motivated governments to improve their human rights records.

AIDS Relief Pepfar, founded in 2003, giving over 15 billion dollars in 5 years, saving millions of lives, one of the most successful government programs, still going strong.

Oprah’s School is also still going strong, still giving girls in South Africa a chance.

And there are numerous private individuals and organizations, too.