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 Home > News & Policies > October 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 21, 2008

Fact Sheet: Transforming International Development
President Bush Has Enhanced The Way We Deliver Aid By Partnering With Developing Nations And Demonstrating Results

     Fact sheet President Bush Attends White House Summit on International Development
     Fact sheet In Focus: White House Summit on International Development

Today, President Bush is hosting a White House Summit focused on advancing his Administration's core principles for transforming international development: country ownership, good governance, results-based programs and accountability, and the importance of economic growth.  Over the past eight years, President Bush has charted a new era in standards for development aid, lifting people from poverty, fighting disease, and increasing educational opportunities.

  • The President recognizes that during times of economic crisis, some may be tempted to turn inward – focusing on our problems here at home, while ignoring our interests around the world.   This would be a serious mistake.  America is and must stay committed to international development for reasons that remain true regardless of the ebb and flow of the markets. 

A New Philosophy For Transforming Countries And Saving Lives

President Bush has made international development one of his highest priorities.  Not only has his Administration provided more foreign assistance than any other in the past half century, it has charted a new era in development, predicating American aid on results and accountability.  Under the President's leadership, we are now:

  • Insisting on accountability in return for our assistance.  For too long, foreign aid was designed to make us feel good.  Now, we are ensuring that our resources do good. 
  • Using this aid to foster sustainable economic growth and promote good governance.
  • Advancing a model of true partnership.  This gives poor nations a real stake in their own development. 
  • Encouraging volunteer organizations, local charities, and the faith community to take on an even greater role in development.  These groups offer a compassion that no big-government program can match. 

This new approach is embodied in the revolutionary Millennium Challenge Account.  Through this program, the United States invests in developing nations that fight corruption, govern justly, support opening markets to trade and investment, and invest in the health and education of their people.  By doing so, we encourage developing nations to make tough economic, political, and social reforms, and we encourage leaders to respect their citizens, uphold human dignity, and earn the trust of their people.  People in the developing world have the capacity to improve their own lives – and they will rise to meet high expectations.

  • Millennium Challenge programs have invested $6.7 billion dollars in 35 countries around the world.  From Albania and Moldova, to Indonesia and Mongolia, to Paraguay and Peru, these partnerships are helping developing nations take charge of their future and unleash the talents of their people.  For example, this February, President Bush and President Kikwete of Tanzania signed a five-year compact worth nearly $700 million to improve the country's transportation, energy, and water supply. 

Ushering In The New Era Of Development Is A Historic Commitment We Can Be Proud Of

America and our partners are helping to meet basic human needs like food and clean water.  Since 2002, the United States has provided more than $16 billion in food assistance, helping ensure that tens of millions of people around the world do not go hungry.  Last year, we dedicated nearly $1 billion to improving sanitation and water supplies in developing nations.  In response to the current global food crisis, we have committed $5.5 billion to address global hunger over the next two years.  We are also working to help find long-term solutions to global hunger with efforts such as distributing better seeds that will boost yields, investing in research that will make crops like rice and wheat more resistant to drought and pests, and calling on other nations to open their markets to crops grown with biotechnology. 

We are working with our partners to unleash the greatest engine of prosperity the world has ever known: free trade.  When President Bush took office, we had free trade agreements with only three nations.  Today, we have agreements in force with 14 – most of which are with developing countries.  In 2005, the President worked with Congress to approve the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement, and trade between participating countries and the United States is up by 30 percent.

America and our partners recognize that education is the gateway to prosperity – and essential to any society's long-term success.  America and our partners are determined to extend the promise of a good education to more people in the developing world.  The U.S. Agency for International Development has partnered with local officials to start kindergartens in Jordan, taught hundreds of thousands of children about information technology in Morocco, and built 70 schools for girls in Egypt.  Through our Africa Education Initiative, the United States has trained more than 700,000 teachers, distributed more than 10 million textbooks, and provided hundreds of thousands of scholarships to help girls go to school.  Last year, President Bush announced a new initiative that will devote $425 million to improving education in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Mali, and Yemen.  Working in partnership with Latin American nations, we have helped more than 400,000 poor and disadvantaged children learn to read. 

America and our partners are helping to lift the burden of deadly disease.  In Africa, the treatable, preventable disease of malaria kills one child every 30 seconds.  In 2005, President Bush launched a five-year, $1.2 billion Malaria Initiative to help cut the number of malaria-related deaths in 15 African nations by half.  So far, this initiative has reached 25 million people, and the numbers of people sick or dying from malaria have dropped dramatically in places like Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. 

  • The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is helping to turn the tide against global HIV/AIDS. In 2003, when President Bush launched this initiative, only 50,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa were receiving anti-retroviral treatment.  Today, the United States supports treatment for nearly 1.7 million people in the region – and tens of thousands more around the world, from Asia to the Caribbean to Eastern Europe.  The largest international commitment ever by any nation to combat a single disease, PEPFAR has supported care for more than 6.6 million people worldwide and allowed nearly 200,000 children in Africa to be born HIV-free through mother-to-child prevention interventions. 

We Must Sustain Our Commitments To The Developing World Because Our Gains, While Significant, Can Be Reversed

President Bush urges both parties in Congress to ensure that our development efforts remain an enduring priority of the United States.  He also calls on other members of the G-8 and the United Nations – as well as our fellow contributors to the Global Fund – to follow through on their pledges.  The President also urges corporations and foundations that have shared their resources and expertise to continue their generosity and asks faith-based groups to carry on their missions of mercy.

  • Development is in America's security interests.  We know that our enemies recruit people to their dark ideology by exploiting despair – and that the best way to respond is by spreading hope.
  • Development is in America's long-term economic interests.  When America helps developing nations rise out of poverty, we create new markets for our goods and services and better-paying jobs for American workers. 
  • Development is in America's moral interests.  We believe in the timeless truth: to whom much is given, much is required.  The power to save lives comes with the obligation to use it.

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