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Partnership with Africa

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"Each African government has to walk down its own road to reform and renewal. But it is a hard road. And those of us who are in a position to do so must do our part to smooth that road…so that Africa can fully share in the benefits and the responsibilities of globalization."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, February 17, 2000

Today, in Washington, D.C., President Clinton delivered the keynote address to the National Summit on Africa.The President emphasized the importance of continued U.S. engagement with Africa, particularly in the areas of trade, debt relief, education, health care, and regional stability. The President also urged Congress to enact the bipartisan Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. Throughout his seven years in office, President Clinton has made ending conflict and cultivating democracy in Africa a central focus of his foreign policy agenda.

Advancing an Agenda of Opportunity for Africa. In his address to the Summit, President Clinton discussed the importance of a continued partnership with Africa, and laid out five important steps the U.S. should take to help provide opportunity to Africa:

Build an open world trading system which will benefit Africa as well as other regions in the world; Continue to provide debt relief to African nations committed to sound policies; Provide increased support to basic education in Africa; Continue the fight against AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases through increased funding and tax credits to speed the development of vaccines; and Work with African leaders and the international community to promote peace and stability in the region.

Building on a Record of Accomplishment. Since taking office, President Clinton has been committed to a strong, constructive engagement with Africa, and his accomplishments include:

  • Providing over $100 million for peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone;
  • Launching the Africa Crisis Response Initiative, which has trained over 4,200 peacekeepers from six African countries to respond to humanitarian and peacekeeping challenges;
  • Providing more than $120 million per year to democracy, human rights, and conflict resolution programs;
  • Creating the Education for Development and Democracy Initiative, which furthers Africa's integration into the global community and improves its quality of education;
  • Supporting democratic elections across Africa, and providing assistance for developing judiciary, legal systems, media and civil society organizations in over 20 countries;
  • Forgiving $500 million in debt from African nations, freeing governments to invest those resources in health, education, and other priorities. The U.S. also forged an agreement among G-8 industrialized countries to provide additional debt relief;
  • Implementing a new, comprehensive trade policy aimed at developing a partnership with Africa that will foster economic growth and facilitate Africa's integration into the global economy;
  • Working to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines for malaria, TB, AIDS and other diseases;
  • Announcing a new cooperative effort to help poor countries gain access to affordable medicines; and
  • Appointing Rosa Whitaker as the first-ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa.

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