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Fact Sheet: The U.S. Commitment to Africa's Growth and Prosperity

June 20, 2002

Presidential Action

Today at the Leon Sullivan Summit in Washington, D.C., President Bush will outline new policies to help Africa achieve economic growth, lasting peace, and widespread prosperity:

  • The President will announce that he will visit Africa early next year to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the region.
  • The President will announce a doubling of funds for the African Education Initiative announced last July, bringing our total basic education spending in Africa to $630 million over the next 5 years.
  • The President will highlight Administration policies designed to help Africa combat the scourge of HIV/AIDs, tear down trade barriers to economic growth, and achieve lasting peace and security.

Improving Africa's Education

With increased levels of education, rich and poor countries become more productive, leading to higher rates of growth that in turn allow for improved standards of living. The current state of education in Africa, however, is preventing the continent from fulfilling this path toward greater prosperity. Consider:

  • Primary school enrollments and literacy rates in Africa are among the lowest in the world.
  • 42 million school children in sub-Saharan Africa are not enrolled in school.
  • Many children cannot afford to go or stay in primary school.

The U.S. wants to help provide Africa's children with the advantages of literacy and basic education. Toward this end, the Administration will double the funding of the Africa Education Initiative to $200 million, providing:

  • Training for 420,000 teachers;
  • 4.5 million new textbooks; and
  • 250,000 scholarships for African girls.

Combatting HIV/AIDS

The current HIV/AIDS scourge combined with a woefully inadequate health care system continue to handicap African, Caribbean, and other countries in pursuit of economic growth and poverty reducing policies. Consider:

  • HIV/AIDS has already killed over 20 million people worldwide and is expected to kill 40 million more
  • Of the world's 25 most HIV/AIDS afflicted countries, 24 are in Africa, with seven countries already having prevalence rates above 20% of the population.
  • In 2001 alone, Africa HIV/AIDS infections grew by 3.4 million.

Yesterday at the White House President Bush announced a new $500 million International Mother and Child HIV Prevention Initiative that seeks to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to infants and to improve health care delivery in Africa and the Caribbean. Under this initiative:

  • Up to one million women will receive treatment annually;
  • Mother to child transmission will be reduced by forty percent within five years or less in twelve African countries and the Caribbean.

This initiative is scaleable so that it could be expanded within these countries or additional countries globally at a future time.

In FY 2002, the United States is providing $988 million for global HIV/AIDS assistance -- a 36% increase over FY 2001. In his FY 2003 Budget, President Bush proposed $1.1 billion in global HIV/AIDS assistance, including $640 million for USAID and $477 for HHS -- a 13 percent increase. The Bush Administration has dedicated $500 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, making the United States by far the leading contributor to the Fund.

With this initiative, the United States is raising by $500 million its commitment to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, which was funded at less than $20 million in FY '01. This new International Mother and Child HIV Prevention Initiative reflects an additional commitment beyond the existing U.S. commitment to the Global Fund.

Reducing Trade Barriers to Economic Growth

Reducing trade barriers in Africa will yield new opportunities for African businesses and entrepreneurs, create new jobs, and spur much needed investment in the region. At the moment, however, most of Africa continues to adopt protectionist policies. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, maintains average tariff rates of 19% -- nearly 50% higher than the average tariff level of developing countries:

  • Although Sub-Saharan Africa has roughly 11 percent of the world's population, it only generates 1 percent of world economic activity and 1.5 percent of global trade.
  • In 1999, average GDP per capita in Africa was only $504, one-tenth of the global average of $5,117.

The U.S. is committed to ensuring that Africa becomes a vibrant partner on the global economic stage. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has achieved great success with more than 92% of U.S. imports from beneficiary countries now entering the U.S. duty free. In total, non-fuel imports from AGOA beneficiaries grew by more than 8% in 2001 while total U.S. global imports declined by nearly 7%. In addition, the U.S. has made the following commitments to further reducing trade barriers and spurring growth in Africa:

  • Creation of three regional trade hubs in Africa to promote African trade, the first of which was opened yesterday (June 19, 2002) in Botswana.
  • Revisions to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), enhancing opportunities for African countries.
  • Steadfast pursuit of successful Doha negotiations in partnership with developing countries.

Achieving Peace and Security

Peace and Security are necessary conditions for future growth and prosperity in Africa.

  • Regional wars in Africa take hundreds of lives each week.
  • At the beginning of this administration, there were five major wars in Africa: Angola, Burundi, Congo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.

The President is pursuing a strategy to end these wars and combat terror in Africa. We will help African nations and organizations develop their ability to respond to crises and will work closely with responsible African leaders and our allies in Europe to support regional peace initiatives. The Administration's strategy consists of:

  • Asking the Congress to provide an additional 55 million dollars in funds this year to help African nations on the front lines of the war on terror.
  • Appointing envoy for peace in Sudan, former Senator Danforth, who has made progress towards a cease-fire and improved delivery of humanitarian aid to places such as the Nuba Mountains region.
  • Building the capacity of regional peacekeepers to secure peace in places like Sierra Leone.
  • Supporting demobilization of soldiers in Angola to consolidate peace.
  • Launching a $5 million awards program to track down individuals responsible for genocide and terror acts in Central Africa.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: The U.S. Commitment to Africa's Growth and Prosperity Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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