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African Aid

President George W. Bush recently announced the United States is ready to commit more resources to Africa:

"We seek progress in Africa and throughout the developing world because conscience demands it. Americans believe that human rights and the worth of human lives are not determined by race or nationality, or diminished by distance. We believe that every life matters and every person counts. And so we are moved when thousands of young lives are ended every day by the treatable disease of malaria. We're moved when children watch their parents slowly die of AIDS, leaving young boys and girls traumatized, frightened, and alone. Peoples of Africa are opposing these challenges with courage and determination and we will stand beside them."

Mr. Bush is proposing to double U.S. aid to Africa to eight-and-a-half billion dollars a year by 2010. This would include more than one-billion dollars to combat malaria, a mosquito-born disease that kills one million Africans a year; four-hundred-million dollars to expand education; and fifty-five million dollars to help deter sexual violence against women.

Two years ago, President Bush announced a five-year, fifteen-billion dollar initiative to combat the global AIDS pandemic. According to the United Nations, between twenty-three and twenty-nine million people are living with AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than two million Africans die each year from AIDS. At least eleven million African children have become AIDS orphans.

The U.S. has also endorsed a plan by the Group-of-Eight leading industrial nations to write off forty-billion dollars in debt owed by eighteen poor countries, including fourteen African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Mr. Bush says that he wants a partnership with African countries:

”Economic aid that expects little will achieve little. Economic aid that expects much can help to change the world.”

President Bush has made it clear that the U.S. wants to help combat poverty, hunger, and disease in Africa. But U.S. assistance will depend on African leaders devoting resources to health and education, while tackling corruption and adopting economic and political reforms.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.