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 Home > News & Policies > May 2003

For Immediate Release
May 22, 2003

Fact Sheet: the Advance of Freedom and Hope

"America's national ambition is the spread of free markets, free trade, and free societies. These goals are not achieved at the expense of other nations, they are achieved for the benefit of all nations. America seeks to expand, not the borders of our country, but the realm of liberty. Our vision is opposed by terrorists and tyrants who attack a world they can never inspire. This vision is also threatened by the faceless enemies of human dignity: plague and starvation and hopeless poverty. And America is at war with these enemies, as well."

- President George W. Bush
May 21, 2003

Today's Presidential Action

Today, in his commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, President George W. Bush announced "Volunteers for Prosperity," a new volunteer-based initiative to support major U.S. development initiatives using the talents of highly skilled Americans to work with nongovernmental and voluntary service organizations in countries around the world. He also called on our partners in Europe, Japan, and Canada to follow the lead of the United States and increase their financial commitments to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Volunteers for Prosperity

"These goals -- advancing against disease, hunger and poverty -- will bring greater security to our country. They are also the moral purpose of American influence. They set an agenda for our government, and they give idealistic citizens a great cause to serve."

- President George W. Bush
May 21, 2003

  • Volunteers for Prosperity, a program of the USA Freedom Corps, encourages highly skilled American professionals in a variety of fields to volunteer for a flexible term in developing countries and emerging economies.

  • Supporting U.S. development initiatives: Working with federal government agencies, the USA Freedom Corps will match doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, economists, computer specialists, and others with organizations working on specific U.S. development initiatives including: the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; the Millennium Challenge Initiative; the Trade for Africa Development and Enterprise Initiative; the Water for the Poor Initiative; the Digital Freedom Initiative; and the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

  • How it works: A doctor in Chicago who wants to volunteer for three months to help HIV/AIDS patients in Uganda can contact the USA Freedom Corps and be matched with an organization that is working in Uganda; needs highly skilled volunteers; meets established safety, recruitment, and mobilization protocols; and has funding from a U.S. initiative. She could then be sent to Uganda as a volunteer with her expenses paid by the organization she is helping and, in this case, with support from the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

  • Volunteers needed now: Some organizations are prepared to take volunteers now. People can find these international volunteer service opportunities through the USA Freedom Corps and its USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network at

  • Increased Interest in Serving Overseas: Approximately 183,000 people have requested Peace Corps applications since the President launched the USA Freedom Corps and announced his intent to double over five years the number of men and women serving overseas for two years as Peace Corps volunteers. The President is using the new effort announced today to help more Americans find more opportunities to share American compassion abroad.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

In his remarks today, the President called upon our partners in Europe, Japan, and Canada to match their good intentions with real resources and join the U.S. in the global fight against AIDS.

President Bush hailed the passage of the five-year $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in both Houses of Congress. This initiative will help the most afflicted countries in Africa and the Caribbean: Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethipoia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The initiative will:

  • Prevent 7 million new infections, or 60 percent of the projected 12 million new infections in the target countries.

  • Provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people, whereas only 50,000 are receiving these drugs in Africa today.

  • Provide medical care for 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans.

The $15 billion for this initiative -- $10 billion in new funds -- nearly triples the U.S. commitment to international AIDS assistance. Funding will begin with $2 billion in FY 2004, and ramp up thereafter. The $15 billion includes an additional $1 billion commitment to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, conditioned on the Fund showing results.

Famine and Agricultural Productivity

  • President Bush today called for renewed efforts to combat famine and hunger worldwide, as part of his

  • FY 2004 $1.4 billion commitment to fund emergency aid to alleviate world hunger.

  • The President called upon Congress to provide $200 million for a new Famine Fund to prevent famine in vulnerable developing countries, and called on other nations to follow our lead by establishing their own emergency funds.

  • President Bush also urged our partners in Europe to follow America's lead and join us in widening the use of new, high-yield biotechnology crops that will dramatically increase agricultural productivity throughout Africa.

  • To give farmers in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere a fair chance to compete in world markets, the President urged all developed nations, including our European partners, to immediately eliminate subsidies on agricultural exports to developing countries - so that they can produce more food to export, and to feed their own people.

  • The President's Initiative to End Hunger in Africa, announced by Secretary of State Powell in Johannesburg, will increase agricultural productivity through technological advances, widen trade opportunities, and implement the right policies to prevent future famines. Today in Africa, 38 million people are at risk of starvation or are facing severe food shortages, including 14 million people in Ethiopia alone.

Water for the Poor Initiative

The President called for renewed efforts to bring safe drinking water to the world's poor. He reiterated the U.S. commitment made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August 2002, of a nearly $1 billion 3-year water program that will provide at least 50 million poor people with clean water.

  • The Water for the Poor Initiative is focused on three areas: enhancing access to clean water and sanitation, improving watershed management, and increasing the productivity of water use.

  • This initiative will provide people with technologies and materials to disinfect water at its "point of use" in the home. "Point-of-use" technologies have been identified by the World Water Development Report as the most cost-effective means of reducing water-related diseases in all regions of the world.

The Millennium Challenge Account

In his address today, President Bush called on Congress to pass legislation supporting the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Initiative that links greater contributions by developed nations to greater responsibility and accountability by developing nations, in order to promote sound policies in the developing world. In sound policy environments, every dollar of aid attracts two dollars of private capital. In countries where poor public policy dominates, aid can harm the very citizens it is meant to help by crowding out private investment and perpetuating failed polices.

The President's MCA Initiative calls for a 50% increase in our core development assistance by 2006, beginning with a $1.3 billion increase in FY 2004 and rising to $5 billion annually by FY 2006, and each year thereafter, to help developing nations spur economic growth and poverty alleviation.

These funds will be managed by a separate government corporation and distributed to developing countries that demonstrate a strong commitment toward:

  • Good Governance. Rooting out corruption, upholding human rights, and adherence to the rule of law are essential conditions for successful development.

  • The health and education of their people. Investment in schools, health care, and immunization provide for healthy and educated citizens who become agents of development.

  • Sound economic policies that foster enterprise and entrepreneurship. More open markets, sustainable budget policies, and strong support for development will unleash the enterprise and creativity for lasting growth and prosperity.

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