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7/2/03 - THE U.S. AND AFRICA - 2003-07-07

On July 7th, President George W. Bush will leave for Africa where he will visit Botswana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. The message that Mr. Bush will take to the people there is that the United States is committed to helping them make peace, fight disease, and improve their lives:

“This is a long-term commitment. And I know there are serious obstacles to overcome. Introducing democracy is hard in any society. It’s much harder in a society torn by war, or held back by corruption. The promise of free markets means little when millions are illiterate and hungry, or dying from a preventable disease. It is Africans who will overcome these problems. Yet the United States of America and other nations will stand beside them.”

President Bush says that many thousands of Africans are killed every year in regional conflicts -- in Congo, Liberia, Sudan, and elsewhere:

“These wars are often encouraged by regimes that give weapons and refuge to rebel groups fighting in neighboring countries. The cycle of attack and escalation is reckless, it is destructive, and it must be ended.”

The U.S. is equally committed to improving health and literacy in Africa. In May, the U.S. Congress authorized fifteen-billion dollars over the next five years to help fight the AIDS epidemic, which has hit Africa hardest of all. And this year, the U.S. will spend more than eight-hundred-million dollars on food emergencies in Africa. But as President Bush says, “Africa’s progress also depends on the education of Africa’s children”:

“Forty-two million boys and girls across Sub-Sahara Africa are not even enrolled in schools. If Africa is to meet its full potential, these children must have the chance to study and learn. My administration is committing two-hundred million dollars over five years to train more than four-hundred-twenty-thousand teachers in Africa, to provide scholarships for two-hundred-fifty thousand African girls, and in bringing more than four-million textbooks to African children.”

The U.S., said President Bush, “is committed to the success of Africa because the peoples of Africa have every right to live in freedom and dignity, and to share in the progress of our times.”