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 Home > News & Policies > June 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2004

Middle East/N. Africa Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative

"...[T]he United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace."

President George W. Bush
November 6, 2003
Washington, D.C.

Presidential Action

Today, President Bush led the G-8 in establishing a historic "Partnership for Progress and a Common Future" with the Broader Middle East and North Africa to support efforts to advance freedom, democracy, and prosperity in the region. The G-8 Leaders met with Leaders of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen, and the new President of Iraq to discuss the challenges facing the region.

Calls for Reform: In November 2003, President Bush announced a "forward strategy of freedom" to advance freedom and democracy in the greater Middle East. Since then, the world has witnessed a gathering momentum for reform in the region: business and civil society leaders issued reform declarations at Aqaba, Sanaa, and Alexandria, where they declared that "reform is necessary and urgently needed." At the May 22-23 Arab League Summit, Arab leaders declared their determination to "firmly establish the basis for democracy."

"Partnership for Progress and a Common Future": President Bush led the G-8 Leaders today in launching the historic "Partnership for Progress and a Common Future" to support political, economic, and social reform in the Broader Middle East and North Africa. To that end, the G-8 agreed to:

  • Establish a "Forum for the Future," which will bring together in one forum G-8 and regional foreign, economic, and other ministers for regular discussions on reform, with business and civil society leaders participating in parallel dialogues. The inaugural meeting of the Forum will be held in the fall of 2004.
  • Adopt a "Plan of Support" that will offer assistance through new initiatives:
    • Democracy Assistance Dialogue, which will bring together democracy foundations, civil society groups, and governments from the G-8, the region, and other countries, to promote and strengthen democratic institutions, coordinate and share information on democracy programs, initiate new democracy programs, and sponsor exchanges. Turkey, Yemen, and Italy will co-sponsor the Democracy Assistance Dialogue and co-host the first meeting in 2004.
    • Microfinance Initiative to help over two million entrepreneurs escape poverty through microfinance loans over the next 5 years. Jordan will host a Microfinance Best Practices Training Center and Yemen will host the first microfinance pilot project.
    • Literacy Initiative to assist the region's efforts to halve the illiteracy rate over the next decade, including by training a corps of 100,000 teachers by 2009. Afghanistan and Algeria will co-sponsor this initiative.
    • Business and Entrepreneurship Training initiative to help as many as 250,000 young entrepreneurs, especially women, expand their employment opportunities. Bahrain and Morocco will co-sponsor this initiative.
    • Private Enterprise Development Facility at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to invest $100 million to finance small and medium-sized enterprises;
    • Network of Funds to coordinate the work of development institutions and international financial institutions working in the region; and
    • Task Force on Investment to assist the region's efforts to improve the business climate.

The Plan of Support also commits the G-8 to work in partnership with the region's governments, business leaders, and civil society to "intensify and expand" existing programs, focusing on: promoting democracy; improving education; and creating jobs and economic growth.

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