Thursday, June 30, 2005

President Bush Makes Major Policy Speach on G8 Summit and Progress in Africa

Read the speech here

President Bush today made a major policy speech, focusing on the upcoming G8 meeting in Scotland. Some key passages are quoted below:

"We seek progress in Africa and throughout the developing world because our interests are directly at stake. September the 11th, 2001, Americans found that instability and lawlessness in a distant country can bring danger to our own. In this new century, we are less threatened by fleets and armies than by small cells of men who operate in the shadows and exploit weakness and despair. The ultimate answer to those threats is to encourage prosperous, democratic and lawful societies that join us in overcoming the forces of terror -- allies that we're finding across the continent of Africa. We fight the war on terror with our power; we will win the war on terror with freedom and justice and hope."

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"Economic aid that expects little will achieve little. Economic aid that expects much can help to change the world. Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, established a year-and-a-half ago, America has begun awarding generous financial aid to countries that fight corruption, embrace democratic government, encourage free markets, and invest in the health and education of their people.

"Eight nations in Africa are now moving toward grants. In April, Madagascar became the first country to sign a compact that begins aid to vital development projects. In the last six weeks, the MCC board has approved three compacts, one with an African nation -- and I expect the MCC to move quickly in the future. Governments making the hard choices deserve our strong support. I call upon the United States Congress to fully support this initiative for new hope and progress across the developing world."

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"The best way to help nations develop while limiting pollution and improving public health is to promote technologies for generating energy that are clean, affordable and secure. Some have suggested the best solution to environmental challenges and climate change is to oppose development and put the world on an energy diet. But at this moment, about two billion people have no access to any form of modern energy. Blocking that access would condemn them to permanent poverty, disease, high infant mortality, polluted water and polluted air.

"We're taking a better approach. In the last three years, the United States has launched a series of initiatives to help developing countries adopt new energy sources, from cleaner use of coal to hydrogen vehicles, to solar and wind power, to the production of clean-burning methane, to less-polluting power plants. And we continue to look for more opportunities to deepen our partnerships with developing nations. The whole world benefits when developing nations have the best and latest energy technologies."

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"In 2001, I challenged the World Bank to give 50 percent of its aid to poor countries in grants instead of loans. And the bank has moved steadily closer to that goal. With the leadership of Great Britain and the United States, the G8 countries are urging cancellation of $40 billion in debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest nations, including 14 nations in Africa. (Applause.) Twenty more countries can qualify for this debt forgiveness in the future with good government and sound economic policies. We're determined not only to relieve debt, but to erase it, so nations in need can face the future with a clean slate."

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"Overcoming extreme poverty will require greater trade. While aid and debt relief can create better conditions for development, it is trade that provides the engine for development................Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has reduced barriers to trade, U.S. exports to sub-Sahara Africa increased 25 percent last year. And America's imports from AGOA countries rose 88 percent. Now we must take the next large step: expanding the entire global trading system through the Doha negotiations. The World Bank estimates that completing these negotiations could add $350 billion annually to developing countries' incomes, and lift 140 million people out of poverty. The Doha negotiations are the most practical and important anti-poverty initiative in the world, and we must bring them to a prompt and successful conclusion.

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"Overcoming extreme poverty will require an atmosphere of peace, achieved in some cases by effective active military forces that can end terrible conflicts..........Over the next five years, America will provide training for more than 40,000 African peacekeepers as part of a broader initiative by the G8 countries. We will help African forces to preserve justice and order on the African continent.

"We're strongly committed to peace for all the peoples of Sudan. American mediation was critical to ending a 20-year civil war between north and south, and we're working to fully implement the comprehensive peace agreement signed last January. Yet the violence in Darfur region is clearly genocide. The human cost is beyond calculation. In the short-term, more troops are needed to protect the innocent, and nations of the African Union are stepping forward to provide them. By September, the African Union mission in Sudan will grow from 2,700 to 7,700 personnel. In a NATO operation next month, the United States military will airlift more than 1,000 Rwandan troops. We will support the construction of additional 16 base camps over the next two months, and we will provide communications and vehicle maintenance for the entire force."

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"Overcoming extreme poverty will require humanitarian aid that focuses on results, not merely on inputs and other flawed measures of compassion. True compassion is measured by real improvements in the lives of men, women and children. And that is the goal and that is the focus of American policy.

"Aid from America will help avert a famine this year in the Horn of Africa. All told, nearly 60 percent of global food aid to the continent of Africa comes from the United States, and Americans are proud to give that aid.

"And since 2003, our country has undertaken a major effort against HIV/AIDS, the largest health initiative in history to combat a specific disease. Across Africa, we're working with local health officials to expand AIDS testing facilities, to train and support doctors and nurses and counselors, to upgrade clinics and hospitals, to care for children orphaned by AIDS, and to support pastors and priests and others who are teaching young people the values of respect and responsibility and prevention. We're making life-giving treatment possible for more than 230,000 adults and children in Africa. We're determined to reach our five-year goal of treating two million.

"This effort is succeeding because America is providing resources and Africans are providing leadership. Local health officials set the strategy and we're supporting them. We're also respecting the values and traditions of Africa. Uganda and other nations are applying a prevention strategy called ABC -- Abstinence, Be faithful in marriage, and Condoms. ABC is balanced, effective, and reflects the moral teachings of African cultures. And no one is helped when outsiders try to impose a lower standard of responsibility."

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"This morning, I announced three additional initiatives to help Africans address urgent challenges. Across the continent, there is a deep need for the empowerment of women, and that begins with education. Educated young women have lower rates of HIV/AIDS, healthier families, and higher rates of education for their own children. Yet only half of the children complete primary education in Africa.

"Together with African leaders, we must work for the education of every African child. And to move closer to that goal, today, I proposed a double funding for America's African Education Initiative. (Applause.) In the next four years, we should provide $400 million to train half-a-million teachers, and provided scholarships for 300,000 young people, mostly girls. (Applause.) We hope other nations will join us. We must give more girls in Africa a real chance to avoid exploitation and to chart their own future.

"Another important aspect of empowerment and the fight against AIDS is the legal protection of women and girls against sexual violence and abuse. (Applause.) Many African nations have already taken steps to improve legal rights for women. South Africa, for example, has an innovative model to fight rape and domestic violence: special units in hospitals where victims can report crime and receive counseling and care, and special judges and prosecutors and police units to ensure that criminals are punished.

"Today, I announce a new effort to spread this approach more broadly on the continent. I ask Congress to provide $55 million over three years to promote women's justice and empowerment in four African nations, nations that can stand as examples of reform for others. I'll urge other G8 nations to join us in protecting the lives and the rights of women in Africa.

"African health officials have also told us of their continuing battle with malaria, which in some countries can cause more death than AIDS. Approximately 1 million last year alone died on the African continent because of malaria. And in the overwhelming majority of cases, the victims are less than five years old, their lives suddenly ended by nothing more than a mosquito bite. The toll of malaria is even more tragic because the disease, itself, is highly treatable and preventable. Yet this is also our opportunity, because we know that large-scale action can defeat this disease in whole regions. And the world must take action. (Applause.)

"Next week at the G8, I will urge developed countries and private foundations to join in a broad, aggressive campaign to cut the mortality rate for malaria across Africa in half. And our nation is prepared to lead. (Applause.) Next year, we will take comprehensive action in three countries -- Tanzania, Uganda and Angola -- to provide indoor spraying, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, and effective new combination drugs to treat malaria. In addition, the Gates Foundation of Seattle is supporting a major effort to control malaria in Zambia. We've had a long tradition of public-private action. I'm grateful to have this strong partner in a good cause.

"America will bring this anti-malaria effort to at least four more highly endemic African countries in 2007, and at least to five more in 2008. In the next five years, with the approval of Congress, we'll spend more than $1.2 billion on this campaign.

"An effort on this scale must be phased in, to avoid shortages of supplies. Yet we intend this effort to eventually cover more than 175 million people in 15 or more nations. We want to reduce malaria mortality in target countries by half, and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

"I urge other wealthy nations and foundations to participate and expand this initiative to additional countries where the need is pressing. Together, we can live this threat and defeat this fear across the African continent."

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