Bill Clinton photo

Remarks in a Meeting With Village Business Owners and an Exchange With Reporters in Wanyange, Uganda

March 24, 1998

The President. You know, one thing I did not say in my remarks I think I should point out here, just because of the press here, in explaining this to people—all these people who get these loans, they don't have balance sheets, most of them. They don't have an asset and liability sheet for which they could get a normal commercial loan. What they have is proven skills and a good reputation for being responsible.

The repayment rate in this FINCA program and throughout all these programs across the world is 98 percent—98 percent of these loans are paid back on time. And that's why I say we do $2 million—I wish we were doing $100 million. I mean, I can't think of anything else where we have invested money that has a 98 percent success rate. It's a stunning thing, just because of this fine woman and people like her all around the world. It's an amazing thing.

Good for you.

We want to see your baby.

Hillary Clinton. Will you bring your baby down?

Janet Museveni. How old is he?

Betty Namugosa. Two days.

The President. My boy, Bill. Oh, he's beautiful. Look at all this hair. I was completely bald until I was 2.

Your fourth child? Thank you for doing this. Why did you name this child after me?

Ms. Namugosa. I was expecting two things this month, the baby and the visit of the President. And I got both.

The President. Look how beautiful he is. He just woke up. The smartest person here.

President's Visit to Africa

Q. Mr. Clinton, what else has impressed you today?

The President. About this stop? Well, the income that—these are people that start out borrowing $50 in American money. They pay it back; they get another loan; they pay it back; they get another loan. It's like they're making all these markets—or entrepreneurs—you can turn a country around doing this if you have enough. But it really proves that people should not be written off just because they happen to be born and grow up in a poor area. It proves that there are people of intelligence and energy and character everywhere in the world. All they need is a chance. And insofar as we give them a chance, we strengthen nations, and we strengthen our future. And in our case, the American people are better off. It's a fabulous thing.

And I got a little boy out of it. [Laughter] He's beautiful. Thank you so much.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 6 p.m. at the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA). In his remarks, he referred to shopkeeper Betty Namugosa and her son, Bill Clinton, who was named in honor of the President. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks in a Meeting With Village Business Owners and an Exchange With Reporters in Wanyange, Uganda Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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