President Clinton announced a series of initiatives designed to underscore the newUS-African partnerships, particularly the desire of African nations to invest in a betterand healthier future for its children. Included in today's announcement are three newinitiatives intended to improve educational standards and access to technology,ensure adequate food and agricultural production for proper nutritional balance, and fightdeadly infectious diseases that claim the lives of too many African children.
Promoting Better Education
The Education for Development and Democracy Initiative seeks to boost Africanintegration into the global community by improving the quality of, and technology for,education in Africa. The President's announcement calls for approximately $120 million inFY'98 and 99 funding and is centered around three principal strategies:community resource centers, public-private partnerships, and educating and empoweringgirls. Key components include:
Primary and Secondary Education
Pilot schools will be selected as community resource centers to provide educational materials and serve as bases to improve local teachers preparation and training for out-of-school youth. Centers will provide computers with access to the Internet, CD-ROM resources, better educational material, in-teacher training and desktop publishing capability. Peace Corps volunteers will provide staffing and continuity at the centers.
School-to-school partnerships between the United States and Africa and among African schools will be promoted through access to computer technology and from exchanges. Education Initiative efforts will be coordinated and integrated with Leland and GLOBE and other efforts in this area.
Improving girl's education through leadership identification and scholarships, raising community awareness and support for educating girls, strengthening school nutrition and lunch programs and monitoring by older girls and women.
U.S.-African linkages at the university-to-university level will be built through assistance with curriculum development aimed at training in labor-market relations, business, health, science, math, technology and engineering studies. In addition, there will be a strong focus on improving teacher training, linking universities and their local communities, appropriate skills training, and encouraging stronger community college resources.
Professional Training and Civil Education
The education initiative will fund partnerships between U.S. and African government institutions and civil society organizations. The exchanges are designed to better promote understanding, cooperation and integration of public-private efforts through NGOs, independent media, rule of law programs, and health and science organizations. Exchanges will be supplemented by in-country training projects to enhance policy and operational skills and promote networking across the political and civil society spectrum.
Ensuring Better Nutrition
A key part of the President's announcement today is ensuring that while we improve theeducational standards of Africa's children we also ensure adequate and proper nourishmentand provide assistance to enhance agricultural production.
Current food security trends project that by the year 2020, 25 percent of Africa'schildren will suffer from malnutrition, already the cause of over a third of deaths ofchildren under the age of five in Africa.
The Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI) is designed to assist African nations tostrengthen and protect agriculture and food security in a number of key areas, including:
ensuring healthy and alternative crop production;
better market efficiency and distribution of existing crops;
increased trade and investment in agricultural industries;
attacking crop diseases;
and increasing access to modern agricultural technology systems to assist with increased crop production and distribution.
The pilot budget for the first two years of the initiative will be $61 million, whichcompliments USAID's current investments in these efforts. Funds will be channeled tothe appropriate government and private sector organizations.
Promoting Stronger Health Care
The third element of the President's program of investing in the future of Africa'schildren is combating the infectious diseases that claim so many young lives.
To help combat malaria, which accounts for 1.5 - 2.5 million deaths per year, the President announces an additional $1 million grant to the National Institutes of Health in order to provide further assistance to the Multilateral Initiative on malaria (MIM). The grant will focus on continuing educational seminars and will support the Regional Malaria Lab in Mali to reinforce its position as a regional center of excellence in Africa. This effort will complement an ongoing FY'98 $16 million Infectious Disease Initiative for Africa that focuses on surveillance, response, prevention, and building local resistance capacity for infectious diseases throughout the continent.