President George W. Bush set-off on Friday for a five-nation tour, touting American compassion for the poor on the continent.

This will be Bush's last visit to Africa as a US President and will support his legacy and highlight US efforts to resolve regional conflicts, promote democratic reform and help in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

President Bush and the First Lady Laura Bush were due to leave Washington at 4:00 p.m. although his visit to the African continent was welcomed with protests in Tanzania and Rwanda.

US oil and military interests were also expected to be explored during Bush's visit amid Washington's forecasts that one-quarter of its oil imports will be got from Africa by 2015 and US also intends to explain about the idea of a US military high command for Africa (AFRICCOM) probably to be stationed in Liberia, but currently based in Germany.

In response to the current dispute in Kenya that has seen more than 1,000 people killed since December, Bush said he will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Support Kofi Annan's mediation efforts.

As Bush visits Africa, his official agenda included talks on US-backed efforts to battle malaria, meetings on anti-AIDS efforts, a stop to pay respects to the hundreds of people killed in Rwanda 1994 genocide and a visit to US-trained peacekeepers.

UN chief, Ban Ki-Moon hailed Bush's trip to Africa by saying it's a very important and historic tour, urging Bush to discuss with African leaders about ways to help people overcome poverty, improve sanitation, and increase access to educational opportunities.

In Tanzania, hundreds of Muslims took-off to the streets of Dar-Es Salaam to protest Bush's visit to the nation, which is scheduled for Saturday.

Bush vowed to support peace efforts in Kenya and maintain tough sanctions against those who support violence in Darfur.