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World Economic Forum Hears Appeal for Haiti


Haiti topped the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland Thursday, as former U.S. President Bill Clinton appealed to international donors to help the earthquake-ravaged nation.

Former President Bill Clinton called for more aid to Haiti.

"Right now, we need to figure out how we are going to get through the week," said Mr. Clinton. "I want the people of Haiti not to worry about how they are going to eat today, whether they can get water today, whether their kids are going to be hungry today," he said.

Mr. Clinton added that Haiti needs all forms of help - from trucks and toilets to more long-term investment.

But the former president, who is the U.N. special representative to Haiti, also painted a picture of hope for the impoverished nation during his remarks at the World Economic Forum as he called on the politicians and business leaders assembled in Davos to help rebuild Haiti.

"This is an opportunity to re-imagine the future for the Haitian people to build the country that they want to become, instead of to rebuild what they used to be," said the former US president. "We have to get through the emergency. We have to get it organized and we have to have the right structure and the right support. I invite you to be a part of that," he said.

Mr. Clinton's appearance was among the highlights of the second day of the World Economic Forum, a yearly gathering of international business and government leaders. Much of the conversation this week is revolving around putting the world's economy back on a sustainable track.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing nations must consider a broader notion of economic growth that includes poorer countries. Seoul hosts the next G-20 summit in November.

Mr. Lee's webcast remarks were translated in English.

"In order to achieve balance and sustainable growth, I believe more is necessary than just achieving balance in a narrow, macro-economic sense. A broader notion of balance is appropriate, including closing the development gap between advanced and developing countries," said Lee.

Other speakers included South African President Jacob Zuma, who spoke about his country's battle with HIV/AIDS, the global economic crisis and the need for South Africa's white minority to feel a part of the country's future.

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