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March 23, 1998

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"This journey will be my opportunity, and yours, to help to introduce the people of the United States to a new Africa -- an Africa whose political and economic accomplishments grow more impressive each month. I want to see for myself what America can learn from Africa and how we can work with you as partners to build a better future for all our children."

- President Bill Clinton
March 20, 1998

Today, President Clinton begins an historic trip through Africa -- the most extensive ever by an American President. President Clinton is the first sitting President to visit each country on the trip: Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal.

An African Renaissance. The President's trip will spotlight a new Africa -- in which democracy is spreading; economic reform is empowering a growing private sector and providing opportunities for Africa's people; and leaders and citizens are making real progress in addressing difficult social problems.

  • Since 1990, the number of democracies in sub-Saharan Africa has almost quadrupled -- half the region's 48 countries freely choose their leaders.

  • As countries have embraced economic reform -- opening markets, privatizing enterprises, stabilizing currencies -- growth in sub-Saharan Africa has more than tripled since 1990. For 1996 and 1997, it averaged over 4 percent.

America's Stake In Africa's Success. Africa's success means new markets and partners for America. It's failure would threaten our values and our budgets as costly humanitarian operations are required, famines recur, and disease spreads.

  • Economic Opportunity: Nearly 700 million people south of Sahara form one of world's largest potential markets. U.S. trade with Africa already 20% greater than with former USSR. It supports 100,000 American jobs. Average annual return on investment exceeds 30%. But far from full potential -- U.S. supplies just 7% of Africa's imports.

  • Strategic Opportunity: A stable Africa will provide new partners to combat growing global security challenges -- international crime and terrorism, drug trafficking, spread of dangerous disease and environmental degradation.

Supporting The New Africa. During his trip, the President will unveil new programs to support democracy, prosperity and opportunity -- including initiatives on education, the rule of law, food security, trade & investment, aviation and conflict resolution.

Combating Enduring Problems. The President will also use the trip to deal directly with the violent conflicts that threaten African democracy and prosperity. He will visit Rwanda to meet survivors of the genocide and convene in Uganda a meeting of the region's leaders to advance cooperation on conflict prevention, democratic participation, human rights promotion, and economic integration.

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