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Bush Pledges US Support for Economic Development in Africa - 2003-07-12

At the conclusion of his five-nation Africa trip, President Bush pledged U.S. support for economic development on the continent. He also promised to help Africans end regional wars and fight threats of terrorism.

President Bush told a summit of business leaders in Abuja that he believes, with its immense resources and rich culture, Africa is a continent of great economic potential. He said the United States is committed to working with African countries to transform this into a decade of prosperity in Africa.

Mr. Bush promised America's support to "governments that govern justly, root out corruption, encourage entrepreneurship, and invest in health and education of their people."

He said providing effective aid and promoting free markets and rule of law will help millions of Africans find more opportunities to attain a better life and build their own future.

President Bush has asked Secretary of the Treasury John Snow to work with American and African experts to broaden capital markets in Africa, so that more people can access loans to buy homes and start up businesses.

The president also reiterated America's commitment to helping end Africa's regional wars. Once again, he urged Charles Taylor of Liberia to leave quickly, to spare his country further grief and bloodshed. He said the United States will work closely with the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African Nations, known as ECOWAS, to maintain the cease-fire in Liberia and allow for a peaceful transfer of power.

President Bush commended the African nations for their efforts in combating the HIV-AIDS pandemic, which has dealt a major blow to the already weak African economies, and now poses a security risk. He asked Congress to fund a $15 billion initiative for the global fight against AIDS, in order to save millions of people on this continent.

In his final remarks on the continent, the president said Africans will achieve great things when given their rights and opportunity.