The Aiken Standard’s Talkback section has contained quite a few references to President Obama’s trip to Africa. Most are critical of the projected cost of $60 to $100 million. I don’t know if these cost projections are accurate since they sound like something that Michele Bachmann would disseminate. Consider the source when quoting these projections.
As for the trip, it requires considerably more logistical support to travel to the continent of Africa due to the lack of extensive infrastructure to support a trip for an American president. Fuel for the aircrafts has to be flown in, as an example. When the president travels internationally, he flies aboard Air Force One and another aircraft that is a virtual duplicate of Air Force One accompanies him. This is a back up just in case something goes wrong with Air Force One. This set up is not unique to Obama. Previous presidents traveled with a back up, also.
I expect that most of the critical comments about Obama’s trip are coming from people who don’t care about the people of Africa. From a purely diplomatic point of view, it is just as critical for the countries in Africa to be provided support as for any other country.
One of Obama’s initiatives is to expand access to electricity to sub-Saharan African countries. The initiative will encompass six or seven countries, and then be expanded to other countries. This is a government/private sector venture.
If you grew up in the South and other rural areas of our country during the early to mid-20th century, then you can appreciate how the expansion of electricity to those areas changed the lives of many people. The same results will happen in Africa.