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"As Africa's nations join the global march toward freedom and open markets, our nation has a deep interest in helping to ensure that these efforts pay off. An Africa that is gaining vitality while technology, trade, communications and travel are bringing millions into the global economy is a continent of greater stability, growing markets, stronger partners."

President Clinton
Washington, D.C.
June 17, 1997

President Clinton's sustained commitment to economic engagement with Africa has opened economies on both sides of the Atlantic to private sector trade and investment, offering opportunities to Americans and increasing Africa's potential to alleviate poverty and to increase prosperity. The United States has systematically developed closer economic relations with Africa through the passage of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, and by negotiating bilateral trade agreements, offering trade incentives for reform, tackling Africa's debt burden, and also forging agreements with our allies to forgive or reduce additional debts. With his August 2000 trip to Nigeria and Tanzania, President Clinton became the first president to visit Africa more than once during his term.


  • Implemented a new, comprehensive trade policy aimed at developing a partnership with Africa that will foster economic growth and development and facilitate Africa's integration into the global economy. The legislative cornerstone of this policy is the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law on May 18, 2000. The Act expands the generalized system of preferences program to provide duty-free treatment to virtually all products exported to the United States from sub-Saharan Africa. The President announced the eligibility of 34 Sub-Saharan countries in October 2000.
  • Forgave bilateral debt of $500 million for African countries, freeing governments to invest those resources in health, education and other development priorities. The United States also forged an agreement among G-8 industrialized countries to provide additional debt relief by expanding the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
  • Launched the LIFE initiative (Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic), an enhanced global AIDS effort, in 1999. Of the $244 million in the FY 2000 budget for global AIDS prevention and care, two thirds will go to Africa. In FY 2001, with strong Administration leadership, Congress appropriated over $460 million for international AIDS prevention and care programs in 2001, more than tripling investment over a two-year period
  • Committed the United States government to a concerted effort to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines for malaria, TB, AIDS and other diseases disproportionately affecting the developing world (through the Millennium Initiative announced in President Clinton's State of the Union Address, January 27, 2000).
  • Issued an executive order on May 10, 2000 to help make HIV/AIDS-related drugs and medical technologies more accessible and affordable in beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries, while protecting intellectual property rights. This built upon earlier statements by the President at the WTO meeting in Seattle, December 1, 1999. Pledged, in partnership with the European Union (U.S.- EU Summit in Lisbon, May, 2000) and the G-8 (Okinawa Summit, July 2000) to step up efforts to combat HIV, malaria, TB and other infectious diseases that threaten the people and economies of Africa.
  • Designated January 2000 -- the month the United States held the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council -- as "The Month of Africa," focusing world attention on the continent. Vice President Gore framed AIDS squarely as a national security issue in the first session of the Security Council to address a health issue. In his September 2000 address to the UN Security Council, President Clinton broadened the definition of national security, calling for efforts combating AIDS, malaria and TB to break the link between deprivation, disease and war. As President of the Council, the United States focused the Council on conflicts in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, and the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa.
  • Increased American awareness of change in Africa and promoted a new partnership between the people of the United States and the people of Africa with President Clinton's historic trip to Africa in March of 1998.
  • Under President Clinton's leadership, unprecedented cabinet-level engagement with Africa, with most members of the cabinet visiting Africa at least once, and new initiatives for Africa developed by the Departments of State, Commerce, Transportation, Agriculture, Defense, Justice, Treasury, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Export-Import Bank, the Trade Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Trade Representative.
  • Demonstrated the importance of a strong U.S.-Africa partnership by hosting, in March of 1999, the United States hosted the U.S.-Africa Ministerial, the largest meeting ever held among African Ministers and American Cabinet members, which resulted in a blueprint for expanded economic engagement in the next century.
  • Appointed Rosa Whitaker as the first-ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for Africa, with broad responsibilities for coordinating U.S. trade policy. USTR has signed bilateral investment treaties and trade and investment framework agreements with several African countries.
  • Deepened U.S. engagement with the fourteen member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through annual U.S.-SADC Forums, the second of which was held in Maputo, Mozambique, May 10-11, 2000. The forum focused on the need to improve the investment climate, and improved political stability and security in Southern Africa as a prerequisite for economic growth and prosperity in the region.
  • Created the Africa Food Security Initiative, which strengthens, expands and supports national and regional agricultural technology development. There are currently ongoing programs in agricultural production, food utilization, nutrition and income-generation in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique and Uganda.
  • Initiated programs to enhance and facilitate two-way agribusiness and agri-trade relations between the United States and Africa.
  • Expanded programming in Africa of the Ex-Im Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Trade and Development Agency. Open in only 13 countries at the time of the President's trip to Africa in 1998, the Ex-Im Bank now has programs in 32 African countries and is supporting $600 million in exports to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Initiated a program, through the Department of Commerce, to help build up Africa's commercial infrastructure by promoting increased U.S. trade and investment in Africa, leading electronic commerce and technology initiatives to strengthen ties, implementing training programs of technical assistance and education, and spearheading sustainable development initiatives to protect Africa's resources and environment.
  • Launched the Safe Skies Initiative to promote sustainable improvements in aviation safety and security across Africa, leading to increased air linkages between Africa and the United States.
  • Energized the Administration through the visit of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown to South Africa in 1993 to take bold steps regarding a new relationship with Africa.

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