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Why is the President Proposing This New Initiative?

In two generations, per capita income in developing countries has nearly doubled. Illiteracy has been cut by a third - giving more children a chance to learn and prepare for a brighter future. Infant mortality in the poorest countries has been almost halved - giving more children a chance to live. Nations from India to Chile have changed old ways and found new wealth. Yet in this world of growing opportunity, there are entire regions untouched by progress. The statistics are alarming:

  • One half of the world’s population today lives on less than $2 a day.
  • For billions of people, especially in Africa and the Islamic world, poverty is spreading, and per capita income is falling.
  • In Malawi, thousands of teachers die each year from AIDS, and life expectancy has fallen to 38 years.
  • In Sierra Leone, one third of all babies born today will not reach the age of 5.

President Bush wants to close the growing divide between nations that are making progress and those that are falling deeper into need and despair. This growing divide is a major source of sorrow and instability in the world, and the President wants to include every African, Asian, Latin American and Muslim in an ever-expanding circle of development.

Success Stories in the Developing World

Marrying good policies to aid has put many countries on a path toward a stronger, more prosperous future. For example:

  • Mozambique's economy grew 10 percent in 2001. In fact, over the 1990s, Mozambique averaged roughly 6 percent annual growth.
  • Sound policies allowed Uganda to open its schools to more children and increase teacher pay by 2700 percent. Over the last decade, Uganda has averaged annual growth rates of roughly 7 percent.
  • Bangladesh, a nation that was once a symbol of famine, has transformed its agricultural sector. Rice production, for example, is up nearly 70 percent since the mid-1970s.