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Condoleezza Rice Remarks at the AGOA Forum

Remarks at the AGOA Forum

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
As Prepared for Delivery
Dakar, Senegal
July 20, 2005

During her vist to Senegal, Secretary Rice delivers a speech at the forum on African Growth and Opportunity Act on July 20, 2005. Thank you, Foreign Minister Gadio, for that kind introduction.

And a special thanks to you, President Wade -- and to all the people of Senegal -- for hosting today's event. Whether measured by the distance on a map, or by the strength of a partnership, America and Africa are closest together here in the city of Dakar.

I would like to welcome my fellow ministers, and the many members of African civil society and the private sector, who have crossed this great continent to be here this morning. I am pleased to join all of you for the annual Forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

We gather today not two weeks after President Bush and other G-8 leaders met in Gleneagles, Scotland, to launch an historic partnership with the nations of Africa. Our partnership rests on the conviction that only the people of Africa can solve the problems of Africa. But for these men and women to fulfill their dreams of democracy, and security, and prosperity, all developed nations have a responsibility to help.

As President Bush has said, "We believe Africa is a continent full of promise, and talent, and opportunity. And the United States will do our part to help the people of Africa realize the brighter future they deserve."

With President Bush's leadership, America has tripled our development assistance to Africa. And we will double it again by 2010. I would like to recognize Andrew Natsios, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, who is helping America expand and transform our partnership with the developing world.

President Bush has also launched the largest effort ever by one nation to combat a single disease -- the $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Joining us today is Randall Tobias, the President's Coordinator for Global AIDS, who is helping America give hope to thousands of men, women, and children living with this disease.

Just last month, President Bush strengthened America's partnership with Africa even further. He pledged $1.2 billion to fight malaria, with the ultimate goal of covering 175 million people in 15 nations. He also proposed new initiatives to train half-a-million African teachers to offer scholarships to 300,000 African students, mostly girls and to help several African states better protect the rights of their women citizens.

Not only is America giving new money, we are revolutionizing how much of that money is given.

Under the leadership of Paul Applegarth -- who is here today -- our Millennium Challenge Account initiative is providing new development grants to nations that govern justly, promote economic freedom, and invest in their people. So far, eight African countries have qualified to apply for grants, including Senegal, and one -- Madagascar -- has already signed a development compact worth $110 million.

Development assistance can be catalytic. But it alone will never enable people to lift themselves out of poverty. Open markets that allow individuals to realize the benefits of their own hard work are essential. This is the purpose of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which brings us all to Dakar today.

AGOA represents the strong bipartisan consensus behind America's support for Africa's development. And it enshrines the principles of good governance as a condition of membership. Governments that advance democratic reform, protect economic liberty, and strengthen the rule of law are the best partners to entrepreneurial citizens. So far, 37 sub-Saharan African countries are meeting these critical standards.

AGOA benefits everyone. African businesses create more, better-paying jobs. And American consumers receive more goods at lower prices -- products like sorbet from South Africa, woodcarvings from Tanzania, and tuna from right here in Senegal. Last year alone, non-oil imports increased 22%, and the United States imported over $26 billion in total from the AGOA group of African nations.

To expand the success of AGOA, African economies must become more competitive and better able to seize the opportunities of trade. With these goals in mind, the United States is launching two new initiatives to build the capacity of African countries to trade in freedom.

The first, which President Bush announced Monday, is the African Global Competitiveness Initiative. This will provide $200 million over the next five years to help the people of Africa participate more fully in free trade. As part of this initiative, we are opening a fourth "trade hub" here in Dakar, where teams of experts will help African countries trade more effectively with one another -- and with the United States.

The second initiative, which I am proud to announce today, is the AGOA Diversification Fund. Through this initiative, several U.S. agencies will support the efforts of African governments to diversify their economies and capitalize further on the promise of AGOA. One project, run by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, will provide grants totaling nearly $1 million to help West African nations increase the safety of their air travel and plan a new railway to better integrate the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Africa is a continent of overwhelming promise. All human beings possess the dignity and the capacity to flourish in freedom. And AGOA is helping the talented men and women of Africa to realize their natural potential for prosperity.

The United States will always offer our full support as the people of Africa build thriving democracies and achieve lasting development. You have set these goals for yourselves, and by yourselves. You are taking ownership of your destiny. And America is proud to be your partner.

Now, it is my honor to welcome Prime Minister Sall to the podium.

2005/ T12-2

Released on July 20, 2005

ENDS


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