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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > December

Remarks at The United States Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Loy Henderson Conference Room
Washington, DC
December 9, 2003

(8:45 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Alan. I want to thank you for the leadership that you have provided to this effort and your commitment to economic development in Africa and to AGOA. Ministers, delegates, and other distinguished guests, a great pleasure to welcome you to the Department of State. And I am honored to serve as your host for the Third Annual United States-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum.

At the very outset of this session, I would like to recognize Minister of Industry and International Trade Jayen Cuttaree of Mauritius. Our thanks to you, Mr. Minister, your government and the people of Mauritius for so graciously hosting the Second Annual Forum in Port Louis this past January. I would also like to thank John Price, our Ambassador to Mauritius, for his contributions to the success of the January forum.

During President Bush's trip to Africa in July, he referred to Africa as the "last great emerging market of the world." And so it is.

And Africa's economic emergence will not only be good for Africans, but good for people all around the world, across the international community, whose future well-being depends on global growth. As Uganda's President Museveni so rightly noted in the Wall Street Journal, aid alone is "a recipe for permanent poverty. The only way [Africa] can break out of this vicious cycle is through trade and through export-led growth."

President Bush's commitment to Africa's economic success is reflected in the theme of this forum: "Building Trade, Expanding Investment."  Over the next two days, we look forward to exchanging ideas and insights with you and exploring ways we might work in partnership to integrate Africa more deeply into the world's trading and finance networks. President Bush sees the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act as central to our efforts to meet the challenges of the Sub-Saharan African market.

President Bush therefore has requested that Congress extend AGOA beyond 2008. The extension of AGOA -- "AGOA 3" -- will give business the confidence to make long-term investments in African countries.  The dean of the African diplomatic corps, Ambassador Olhaye of Djibouti, put it this way during a congressional briefing this past October: "Africa is seeking economic justice, economic empowerment, economic development, economic partnership. AGOA 3 is one of the key ways of achieving those goals."  By breaking down barriers to U.S. markets, AGOA can have a major impact on the lives of millions of men, women and children across the African continent.

Indeed, in the three short years since AGOA went into effect, we estimate that AGOA-related trade and investment has created over 190,000 jobs and over $340 million in new investment. Behind these overall numbers lie hundreds of individual success stories.

In Ghana, for example, two American companies have invested in plants to export socks to the United States. These first-time investors in Africa are employing 400 Ghanaians. In Tanzania, business for a small handicraft company has boomed as a result of AGOA. Before AGOA, the company employed 25 people and exported $20,000 a year in arts and crafts to the United States. Since AGOA, the company has hired 100 new employees, mostly women, and its exports to the United States have increased ten-fold.

Not all AGOA-related successes involve export direct to the United States. AGOA also is stimulating intra-regional trade. For example, Namibian plants produce parts that are included in South African cars which are then exported to the United States. Zambian cotton exports to South Africa more than doubled in 2002 thanks to increased demand generated by AGOA. We have also seen increased intra-African investment.

A firm from Mauritius has been especially active in Mali. Building a plant that will produce quality yarn from Malian cotton that will employ the citizens of Mali and boost incomes for their cotton products. I am pleased that United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick will be here later this morning to discuss with you the very promising future that we see for AGOA. Of course, AGOA is only one of the ways the United States is working with the nations of Africa to build a better future for Africans and Americans alike.

President Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account initiative reflects the new international consensus on how best to approach development aid for Africa. MCA is a powerful way to "draw whole nations into an expanding circle of opportunity and enterprise." MCA assistance, as you all know, will only be available to developing nations that demonstrate a strong commitment to the principles of just government, nations that invest in the education and health of their citizens, and nations which have adopted wise trade, economic and environmental policies. MCA can be a powerful tool for spurring reform and bringing real improvements to the daily lives of people, people who want to believe in democracy but have yet to reap its benefits.

African countries already have taken many steps toward political and economic freedoms, and we urge you to work through African regional and subregional organizations to support greater democracy throughout the continent. Use of the peer review mechanism of the New Partnership for Africa's Development can help ensure that the principles of accountability and good governance are adopted and applied as universal standards across Africa. The deplorable situation in Zimbabwe requires concerted regional and global attention to ensure that the people of that once-productive and now economically crippled country have a voice in their government to bring about new and positive change.

And all the hard-won progress toward democracy and development in African countries is challenged, as we all know, by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, by unresolved conflict and by terrorism. The spread of HIV/AIDS has spawned a colossal development crisis across the continent. President Bush has greatly empowered us to address this crisis through his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which enjoys the overwhelming bipartisan support of the United States Congress.

This five-year, $15 billion plan adopts an integrated approach of prevention, treatment and care, and encompasses all of the United States Government's HIV/AIDS worldwide activities and programs. The plan focuses on 14 of the world's countries hardest hit by the disease, most of these countries in Africa. Partnerships among government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, faith- and community-based groups, and industry will play critical roles in implementing the plan and achieving the President's vision.

All of us must work together to break the silence that kills and to send the message far and wide that those who are infected are our brothers and sisters. They should be treated with compassion, not cruelty. They should be treated with dignity, and not discriminated against. The United States is ready to work in partnership with you every step of the way as you work hard to turn the tide of AIDS in your countries. Africans have also suffered too long from devastating wars that undermine development. The United States is committed to working with African nations to increase capacity on the continent to respond to security problems and regional challenges. We strongly support peace processes that are underway from Burundi to Sudan to Liberia.

We commend the African Union and the regional leaders and regional organizations who are working to ensure a lasting political solution in Burundi. The Sudanese parties have committed themselves to achieving a final peace agreement by the end of the year, and we strongly support that goal. As I said when I visited Kenya in October to meet with the parties and brought a message from President Bush to Vice President Taha of the Sudan and to Dr. Garang, we now have a window of opportunity to resolve this conflict in a spirit of reconciliation and reaching out to one another.

And I have been in touch with the parties in the last 10 days and I am optimistic that it is possible to achieve the comprehensive settlement by the end of the month, and the United States will do everything we can to help the parties achieve that outcome. It is a moment that must not be lost.

And I am particularly pleased that the planning that is taking place for a donors conference on Liberia in early February, a donors conference that is so vitally needed to meet the urgent needs of Liberia's war-weary people.

We also are working with our African partners to combat terrorism, the new scourge on the face of the Earth. It's really an old scourge that's taken on new dimensions and we can no longer turn away from the fact that terrorism affects every nation on the face of the Earth, not just the United States and one or two others.

As in other regions of the world, terrorists threaten African countries and sometimes use African countries as a base of operations. Africans have been victims of cruel terrorist attacks. Beyond the appalling human losses, African economies have suffered, suffered devastating blows as a result of terrorist activity.

On June 26th, President Bush announced a new presidential initiative, the East Africa Counterterrorism Initiative. This $100 million package is designed to increase the regional counterterrorism capacity of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Tanzania and Eritrea over the next fifteen months. So, as you can see, we have a full agenda for this forum and for America's engagement in Africa.

We look forward to working in deeper partnership with African nations to build a world of democracy, a world of prosperity and a world of security for all of our peoples. I just want to close by reaffirming to you once again President Bush's commitment to Africa. We have a comprehensive set of programs to deal with the challenges that African nations face: in economic terms, MCA, AGOA, what we are doing here today; in human terms, what we are doing with respect to HIV/AIDS; what we're doing with the Millennium Challenge Account.

I want you to know that this Administration, under President Bush's leadership, and you can be sure also in this Department, and with my involvement, which is total, personal, you have friends here in the United States who want to help you in every way possible to bring a better life to the people of Africa: people who want to see the end of war; people who do not want to see terrorism; people who want to deal with the health problems, the water problems, the drought problems, the starvation problems that affect Africa.

We are here as your partner, as your friend. We have no greater priority than to do what we can to assist development throughout Africa. So I thank you for being with us and I hope you have a most productive conference.

Thank you so much.

(Applause.)


Released on December 9, 2003

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