For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 17, 2001
Remarks by the President
To the World Bank
9:40 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all
very much. Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for your
distinguished years. Thank you for your
service. Thank you for your kind comments. I'm
honored to be here today with the Secretary of the Treasury, Paul
O'Neill. Thank you for being here, Mr.
Secretary. As well as our Trade Ambassador, Bob
Zoellick. I appreciate the leadership that these two men
have shown. Their steady advice, their standards, their
adherence to principle make my job a lot easier.
I also want to thank Jim Wolfensohn for
not only the invitation to be here, but for your traveling long
distances to get here to hear this speech. He said he landed
at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Obviously, he'd never heard me
give a speech before. (Laughter.) But I do
appreciate his leadership. I appreciate the fact that he's
raised the profile of global poverty and has underscored the importance
for erasing it. I'm proud of his leadership, and I'm proud
of the folks that work here at the World Bank. And I want to
thank you for coming to give me a chance to speak to you.
Last month in Poland, I talked about
Europe and America working in partnership to build a house of
freedom. A house whose doors should be open to all of
Europe's emerging democracies. And a house whose windows
should be open to help Europe and America see clearly their challenges
and responsibilities in the rest of the world.
My last trip to Europe focused mainly on
opening the doors of freedom throughout Europe by enlarging NATO and
the European Union. Tomorrow I will travel to Europe to meet
with leaders of the world's most industrialized nations, as well as
Russia, to discuss the developing world and its needs, and the
developed world and our duties.
The needs are many and
undeniable. And they are a challenge to our conscience and
to complacency. A world where some live in comfort and
plenty, while half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day is
neither just, nor stable. As we recognize this great need we
can also recognize even greater promise.
World poverty is ancient, yet the hope of
real progress against poverty is new. Vast regions and
nations from Chile to Thailand are escaping the bonds of poverty and
oppression by embracing markets and trade and new
technologies. What some call globalization is, in fact, the
triumph of human liberty stretching across national
borders. And it holds the promise of delivering billions of
the world's citizens from disease and hunger and want. This
is a great and noble prospect, that freedom can work not just in the
new world or the old world, but in all the world.
We have, today, the opportunity to include
all the world's poor in an expanding circle of development, throughout
all the Americas, all of Asia, and all of Africa. This is a
great moral challenge, what Pope John Paul II called, placing the
freedom of the market in the service of human freedom in its
totality. Our willingness to recognize that with freedom
comes great responsibility, especially for the least among us, may take
the measure of the 21st century.
This cause is a priority of the United
States foreign policy, because we do recognize our responsibilities,
and because having strong and stable nations as neighbors in the world
is in our own best interests.
In centuries past, strong nations often
wanted weak neighbors to dominate. In our age, strong
nations must recognize the benefits of successful partners around the
world. Strong partners export their products, not their
problems. Conquering poverty creates new customers. And a
world that is more free and more prosperous is also a world much more
likely to remain at peace.
To build this better world, we must be
guided by three great goals. First, America and her friends and allies
must pursue policies to keep the peace and promote
prosperity. The United States and her allies will pursue a
balance of world power that favors human freedom.
This requires a new strategic framework
that moves beyond Cold War doctrines and addresses the threats of a new
century such as cyberterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, missiles
in the hands of those for whom terror and blackmail are a very way of
life. These threats have the potential to destabilize
freedom and progress, and we will not permit it.
Prosperity depends on a stable and
peaceful world. Global prosperity also depends on the
world's economic powers keeping our economic houses in
order. We all must pursue pro-growth policies that encourage
greater productivity, reduce tax burdens, while maintaining fiscal
responsibility and stable prices.
Our second goal is to ignite a new era of
global economic growth through a world trading system that is
dramatically more open and more free. One of the most
important objectives of my meetings with other G-7 leaders in Italy
will be to secure their strong endorsement for a launch of a new round
of global trade negotiations later this year.
And at home, one of my most important
legislative priorities will be to secure from Congress trade promotion
authority that five other Presidents have had -- an authority necessary
so that when our United States enters into agreement, the countries
with whom we've agreed to will understand we mean
business. It's time for Congress to act.
Free trade applies the power of markets to
the needs of the poor. We know that nations that open their
economies to the benefits of trade are more successful in climbing out
of poverty. We know that giving developing countries greater
access to world markets can quickly and dramatically raise investment
levels and incomes. We also know that free trade encourages
the habits of liberty that sustain freedom over the long haul.
That is why I applaud the World Bank's
leadership in helping countries build the institutions and expertise
they need to benefit from trade.
Despite trade's proven track record for
lifting the lives of the poor, organizers of the summit expect many
people to take to the streets later this week in Italy to try to stop
our progress. They seek to shut down meetings because they
want to shut down free trade. I respect the right to
peaceful expression, but make no mistake -- those who protest free
trade are no friends of the poor. Those who protest free
trade seek to deny them their best hope for escaping poverty.
Legitimate concerns about labor standards,
the environment, economic dislocation should be, and will be,
addressed. But we must reject a protectionism that blocks
the path of prosperity for developing countries. We must reject
policies that would condemn them to permanent poverty.
As my friend, the former President of
Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, said, the protesters seem strangely determined
to save the developing world from development.
Our third goal must be to work in true
partnership with developing countries to remove the huge obstacles to
development; to help them fight illiteracy, disease, unsustainable
debt. This is compassionate conservatism at an international
level. And it's the responsibility that comes with freedom
Already, 23 of the world's poorest nations
are benefitting from efforts to relieve them of the crippling burden of
massive debt. These nations have committed themselves to
economic reform and to channeling the savings from debt relieve into
health and education.
The United States has been, and will
continue to be, a world leader on responsible debt
relief. The developed nations must also increase our
commitment to help educate people throughout the world.
Literacy and learning are the foundation
of democracy and development. That is why I propose the United States
increase funding for our education assistance programs by nearly 20
percent. Today, I'm directing the Secretary of State and the
Administrator of the Agency for International Development to develop an
initiative to improve basic education and teacher training in Africa,
where some countries are expected to lose 10 percent or more of their
teachers to AIDS in the next five years.
For its part, the World Bank and the other
development banks must, as Secretary O'Neill has noted, focus on
raising productivity in developing nations, especially through
investments in education.
Yet only about 7 percent of World Bank
resources are devoted to education. Moreover, these funds
are provided as loans that must be repaid, and often times
aren't. Today I call on all multilateral development banks
to increase the share of their funding devoted to education, and to tie
support more directly to clear and measurable results.
I also propose the World Bank and other
development banks dramatically increase the share of their funding
provided as grants rather than loans to the poorest
countries. Specifically, I propose that up to 50 percent of
the funds provided by the development banks to the poorest countries be
provided as grants for education, health, nutrition, water supply,
sanitation and other human needs, which will be a major step
forward. Debt relief is really a short-term
fix. The proposal today doesn't merely drop the debt, it
helps stop the debt.
The world also needs to begin realizing
the enormous potential of biotechnology to help end
hunger. The U.N. has recently reported biotechnology can
dramatically improve crop yields in developing countries while using
fewer pesticides and less water. We need to move forward
based on sound science, to bring these benefits to the 800 million
people, including 300 million children, who still suffer from hunger
Finally, the Genoa Summit will formally
launch a new global fund to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and
tuberculosis. The United States was the first to announce
our contribution to this fund, originally called for by U.N. Secretary
General Kofi Annan. We are proud to have been a leader in
developing the fund's structure and its focus on prevention with a
broad strategy that includes treatment and care.
And I'm proud that our country contributes
nearly $1 billion annually to international efforts to combat AIDS and
infectious diseases. I might remind folks that's more than
twice the amount of the second largest donor. We stand ready to commit
more to the global fund when it demonstrates success.
In all these areas -- health, education,
hunger and debt -- America is committed to walking alongside leaders
and nations that are traveling the hard, but rewarding, path of
political and economic reform: nations that are committed to
rooting out cronyism and corruption, nations that are committed to
building the institutions of freedom and good government.
In 1950, at the height of the Cold War,
John Foster Dulles issued a promise to the people of South
Korea. "You're not alone," he said. "You'll never be alone
so long as you continue to play worthily your part in the great design
of human freedom." Fifty years since our circumstances have
changed beyond recognition. The world is no longer divided
into armed camps. Democracy has become a seed on the wind,
taking root in many nations. So much has changed, yet
America's commitment is still the same.
To all nations promoting democratic
government and the rule of law so that trade and aid can succeed,
you're not alone. To all nations tearing down the walls of
suspicion and isolation, and building ties of trade and trust, you're
not alone. And to all nations who are willing to stake their
future on the global progress of liberty, you will never be alone.
This is my nation's pledge, a pledge I
will keep. Thank you for having me. (Applause.)
9:58 A.M. EDT