T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E


Help Site Map Text Only

National Economic Council



July 22, 2000


This year, for the first time ever, G8 leaders met with leaders of developing nations, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society in support of global poverty alleviation. The Summit will create a framework for significantly increased bilateral, multilateral, and private sector assistance to poor countries with effective policies in three interrelated areas: infectious diseases, basic education, and information technology. The goal is to mobilize a more comprehensive response by the international community in support of developing countries that exert leadership at home on these issues. Today, President Clinton will announce progress at the Okinawa Summit in two key areas:

Infectious Diseases. The Clinton-Gore Administration has been working to strengthen resources and leadership among G-8 nations for the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease threats. The global challenge of infectious disease is the major focus at this year's Summit. A majority of G-8 nations are making significant new pledges to prevent and control HIV/AIDS.

  • United States: Under the President's FY 2001 budget request, the U.S. contribution to this effort will be more than $4 billion. The initiative includes stepped up international assistance for HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases; an accelerated effort to develop and distribute vaccines through the Millennium Vaccine Initiative; and expanded research on HIV/AIDS and other infectious killers.
  • Other G-8 Countries: The majority of the G-8 nations are making significant pledges to prevent and control HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB: Japan has pledged $3 billion over five years for international HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB; Canada has announced more than $100 million for HIV/AIDS; the UK and Italy have committed substantial increases for international infectious disease partnerships.
  • World Bank: The World Bank has committed $600 - $700 million in lending for HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and immunizations. The Clinton-Gore Administration has been urging multilateral development banks to increase their resources for health care systems, including vaccination and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

Digital Divide. President Clinton will announce a number of new public and private sector efforts to bridge the global digital divide and to create digital opportunity for the people of the developing world, including:

  • As part of the Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society, which will be released today at the G-8 Summit, President Clinton and the other G-8 leaders will call for the creation of a Digital Opportunity Task Force, or "dot force."
  • Markle Foundation, World Economic Forum, IBM, Harvard University, United Nations Development Program and UN Foundation will create a network readiness initiative - available to all developing nations.
  • United Nations Development Program, Andersen Consulting, and Markle Foundation will develop a strategy and implementation plan for bridging the digital divide.

These announcements are part of an Okinawa Summit that will help promote a coordinated approach to poverty reduction around the world. Trade and technology are potentially powerful engines of growth and development for poor countries, but they are not always sufficient to reduce poverty. Lack of human capacity due to disease, malnutrition, and illiteracy make the opportunity created by trade and technology more theoretical than real for many. Sick and malnourished people have less access to education and perform less well in school, reducing their economic opportunity. Illiterate people are harder to reach through HIV/AIDS and other public health campaigns and are less equipped to follow prescribed medical treatments for diseases and other illnesses. And while information technology holds enormous promise for improving health care, education, and economic opportunity in poor, remote areas, it also has the potential to widen social disparities without explicit efforts to ensure broad access.

  • HIV/AIDS. Zambia lost 1,300 teachers in 1998, equivalent to two-thirds of all new teachers trained. In Botswana, Zimbabwe, and S. Africa, half of all 15 year olds are projected to die of AIDS. The population of each of these countries will actually decline in the coming years. 44 million kids will be orphaned worldwide in the next decade as a result of AIDS.
  • Other Diseases. Tuberculosis accounts for more than 2.3 million deaths each year, while malaria kills more than one million, mostly children in Africa. Diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections are even more devastating, killing nearly 6 million annually in developing countries. At least 3 million children die needlessly each year for lack of access to existing vaccines.

  • Digital divide. Of the estimated 332 million people online as of March 2000, less than 1 percent (2.77 million) live in Africa. Less than 5 percent of the computers that are connected to the Internet are in developing countries. The developed world has 49.5 phone lines per 100 people, compared to 1.4 phones in low-income countries.
  • Basic Education. Of the estimated 120 million children not enrolled in school, an estimated 60 to 70 percent are girls. Forty percent of African children are out of school (42 million total), as are 26 percent of South and West Asian children (46 million). At least four years of quality education are necessary for sustainable literacy and numeracy skills, but about 150 million children reportedly drop out before completing fourth grade. A 1995 UNICEF/UNESCO study found that about one-third of students don't have classrooms with blackboards, and a similar number lack desks, chairs, and access to safe water.

The Okinawa Summit's unprecedented emphasis on development builds on one of the primary achievements of last year's G-7/G-8 Summit, the Cologne Debt Initiative. The expanded Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative launched in Cologne will triple the scale of debt relief for the world's most heavily indebted poor countries, freeing up additional resources for investment in the health and education of their people. The President has requested $435 million for this year's participation in the Cologne Debt Initiative, $810 million including FY 2002 and 2003. As many as 33 countries stand to see their foreign debts reduced by about 70 percent when combined with previous initiatives, reducing their annual external debt service payments by as much as half. Nine countries have qualified for expanded relief thus far. For example:

  • In Mozambique, even after the floods, expenditures on education and health care are expected to increase from 31 percent of expenditures to over 35 percent, an expansion of $45 million. In 2000, Mozambique's debt service-to-export ratio will be 2.5 percent; in 1998, it was 20 percent.
  • Tanzania will save about $100 million per year in debt service for the next several years and will use HIPC debt relief to conduct a nationwide campaign to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and immunize children.

Promoting economic development in poor countries is in the U.S. national interest. There is a growing disparity in income levels between the richest and poorest countries in the world, posing a challenge to our moral, economic, and security interests.

  • More than 1.2 billion of the world's roughly 6 billion people live on less than $1 a day. Another 1.6 billion live on less than $2 a day. Real incomes fell during the 1990s in Sub-Saharan Africa, in much of the Middle East, and in many developing countries.
  • Improved progress on development will help broaden participation in the benefits of global integration, expand common ground on trade liberalization, and improve prospects for regional security and environmental sustainability. Healthier and more literate people face greater economic opportunity, have smaller families, are more fully equipped to participate as citizens in democracies, and thus more likely to live in peace with their neighbors.



President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only

Privacy Statement