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14.02.2008 Feature Article

President Bush`s Africa Trip To Highlight U.S. Partnership with Region

President Bush`s Africa Trip To Highlight U.S. Partnership with Region
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National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley previews five-nation trip including Ghana*
President Bush's upcoming visit to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia will demonstrate America's commitment to the people of Africa and highlight how the United States has partnered with African leaders to address the challenges of disease, poverty and security.

National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington February 4 that “together we have made remarkable progress,” with many U.S. and African programs making “a real difference.”

Africa showcases the Bush administration's approach to economic development, he said.

“We help the people of the developing world because America is a compassionate nation. When Americans see people in need, they want to help because we believe as a nation that every individual deserves the opportunity to reach his or her potential.”

He cited President Bush's 2008 State of the Union address, in which Bush said that building a freer, more hopeful, more compassionate world reflects the calling of the American conscience.

Hadley added that helping people in the developing world is also “very much in our national interest. People who are free, educated, healthy, empowered and able to use their freedom to enhance their economic well-being are less likely to support terror or attacks on others.”

America's “own prosperity, freedom and security are increasingly intertwined with those of less-developed nations,” he said.

Bush, Hadley said, “believes that U.S. development assistance is central to our nation's national security and foreign policy, and his budgets have reflected that commitment.”

President Bush has more than doubled U.S. development assistance, from about $10 billion in 2000 to about $23 billion in 2006, Hadley said. “This is the largest increase in development assistance since the Marshall Plan,” he said.

In his first four years in office, Hadley recalled, Bush doubled U.S. development assistance to Africa. “At the G8 Summit in 2005, he promised to double our assistance to Africa once again by 2010,” Hadley added.

The president's budget request for 2009, released the same day Hadley spoke, “reflects that commitment. If approved by Congress and fully implemented, this budget request will ensure that our nation keeps its promise to our international partners and to the people of Africa,” he said.

Hadley said the president strongly believes the best way to enhance development is to “invest in people: their health, their education. So this is what we are doing while encouraging governments in the developing world to make the choices that enable their people to achieve a better life.”

Success, he added, is measured “by the number of lives that change, not by the number of dollars that change hands.”

Hadley said the United States is “using our assistance to encourage innovation and reform, not to subsidize governments that have failed to invest in their people. We are helping nations open their economies to free markets and free trade so they emerge over time from dependence on foreign aid.”

The United States, Hadley said, seeks to build “relationships based on partnership and not paternalism.”

Hadley cited specific Bush administration programs that are helping to build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership:

• PEPFAR: The President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS -- which, Hadley pointed out, stands as the “largest international health initiative in history ever dedicated to a single disease.” He credited PEPFAR for helping to bring lifesaving treatment to more than 1.4 million people worldwide. President Bush, Hadley said, has asked Congress to double this initial commitment with an additional $30 billion over the next five years, which will help provide treatment for 2.5 million people, preventing more than 12 million new infections and caring for more than 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.

• Malaria Initiative: The initiative is a five-year, $1.2 billion effort to provide insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying and anti-malarial medicines to needy people. More than 6 million bed nets are being distributed through public-private partnership and an estimated 25 million people in 15 African countries already have benefited, Hadley said.

“Our goal is to reduce the mortality rate of this disease over five years in those 15 countries by 50 percent,” he told his audience. Additionally, he said, the United States leads the world in the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, making the fund's founding contribution and contributing $2.5 billion to date, more than any other nation.

• Africa Education Initiative: The initiative is providing $600 million over eight years to increase access to quality basic education. “By 2010,” Hadley said, “this effort will have distributed over 15 million textbooks, trained nearly 1 million teachers and provided 550,000 scholarships for young women.” Additionally, Hadley said, President Bush in May 2007 launched an International Education Initiative that also will aid Africa.

• Anti-Hunger Initiative: Currently, more than half of the world's food assistance comes from the United States, Hadley said. In 2007, he said, U.S. emergency food aid reached 23 million people in 30 countries. President Bush has proposed that U.S. food aid be purchased from local and regional farmers to help “break the cycle of famine by encouraging local agriculture rather than displacing it.”

• Debt relief: President Bush has worked with the G8 partners to help free poor countries of up to $60 billion of debt, which has trapped millions of people in poverty. The G8 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Additionally, Hadley said the Bush administration has strongly worked to help do the following:

• promote democratic, transparent and accountable governments in the developing world through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which since 2004 has approved compacts of more than $5.5 billion with 16 partner countries, many of which are in Africa; and

• expand trade and open markets to help lift people from poverty. The United States is working for a successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations in 2008 and to promote peace and security to attract investors to the developing world.

Hadley said President Bush's people-centered empowerment approach to development stands as a successful alternative to the “flawed” donor-client dynamic from decades past that kept too many people in poverty and “the ideology of hatred,” which sees suffering as an opportunity to foment violence against the innocent and advance an agenda of oppression and despair.

*National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley was speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (© AP Images), Source: www.america.gov

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