President Bush Monday announced a series of new measures to help African countries boost trade with the United States. During a meeting of African trade and finance ministers at the State Department, he also thanked Africa's leaders for their support for the war on terrorism.
President Bush said that in an era of global trade and global terror, the futures of the developed world and the developing world are closely linked. "We benefit from each other's success," he said. "We are not immune from each other's troubles. We share the same threats and we share the same goal: to forge a future of more openness, trade, and freedom."
The president said terrorists and their supporters cannot accept the notion of a modern world where freedom and prosperity can grow. "They feed resentment, envy, and hatred. They fear human creativity, choice, and diversity. Powerless to build a better world, they seek to destroy a world that is passing them by, and they will not succeed. We offer a better way," the president said.
The U.S.-sponsored Africa trade forum is one offshoot of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which President Bush signed into law last May.
Mr. Bush used the occasion to urge African governments to ratify a 1999 anti-terrorism pact that was adopted in response to the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He said the agreement, known as the Algeria Convention, would give them extra resources to fight future terrorist assaults. "Now it is critically important this convention be ratified so that African nations have additional judicial, diplomatic, and financial tools to root out terrorism," he said.
The president also spoke of extra U.S. economic help for African countries that meet the qualifications for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. "Today, I am pleased to announce the creation of a $200 million Overseas Private Investment Corporation support facility that will give American firms access to loans, guarantees, and political risk insurance for investment in sub-Saharan Africa," the president said.
Mr. Bush also instructed U.S. trade officials to create a regional office in Johannesburg to help governments seeking to liberalize trade laws, boost investment and pursue free trade. And he announced creation of a $15 million development program to help African businesses sell more products on the global market.