News / Africa

Clinton Global Initiative Embraces NGOs

John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation HopeJohn Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope
x
John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope
John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on Clinton Global Initiative

Joe DeCapua
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is holding its annual meeting (9/23-25) in New York with heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists and representatives from NGOs. Founded in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, the Initiative’s goal is to find creative solutions to major problems



John Bryant, a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative, said the meeting is about bringing people together to achieve measurable results.

“I don’t think the government alone can solve these problems anymore. I don’t think the private sector alone can solve these problems anymore. I don’t think philanthropy alone can solve these problems. The beautiful thing about CGI – it’s one huge collaboration. It’s one huge convening force for action and commitments,” he said. 

Bryant is founder and CEO of Operation Hope, which he described at a global leader in financial dignity. He said the idea is to give people a hand up, not a handout.

“Financial literacy is one example of that. If you were alive in the 20th Century, the issue was democracy. The way you codified that was the right to vote. But in the 21st Century the world is being ruled by the language of money, free enterprise or the lack thereof, the economy, the economic situation. So if you don’t understand the language of money, financial literacy, and you don’t have a bank account, you’re an economic slave,” he said.

In the U.S., Operation Hope helps raise the credit rating of people in poor neighborhoods. He said doing so can literally change the neighborhood itself.

“So now the liquor store turns into a convenience store, and the check cashier turns into a credit union or a bank. Well, you’ve just taken a poor neighborhood to an emerging market. That’s a hand up. That’s doing well by doing good. That’s tangible,” he said.

In North Africa and the Middle East, the goal is to create jobs by encouraging entrepreneurs. Bryant said, for example, that Saudi Arabia needs tens of millions of jobs by 2020. Operation Hope offers 25 types of business opportunities with a start-up cost of about $500. Creating jobs, he said, is one of the best weapons against terrorism.

“You put al-Qaeda out of business. Al-Qaeda doesn’t create any jobs. I mean you got two options in the Middle East. It’s very simple. You either light a candle or you curse the darkness. You figure out what you’re for or you figure what you’re against. People want a job. You don’t want war. You want to spend time with your family and you want to go shopping. What the MENA region needs is a middle class, or the aspiration to get there,” he said.

Bryant said in the 21st Century, freedom means “your ability to have self-determination in your life.”

Former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies of Philadelphia is seeking partners at the Clinton Global Initiative to help promote women’s rights. The University of Pennsylvania professor is president and CEO of Women’s Campaign International. She said getting women elected to political office in North Africa and the Middle East could help bring major changes.

“With the Arab Spring, if you looked out at Tahrir Square, for example, it was filled with women. When it got to kind of putting the government together, they weren’t there. And that’s very important. And women now, at least in our MENA region, the Middle East and northern Africa where we are working, they’re saying, wait a minute, we must be there. This is important,” she said.

Margolies said male members of parliament or those in positions of power in the MENA region are often unaware of the issues important to women.

“Those issues that are often marginalized are often embraced by women and they’re very important. They’re family issues. Women see things often through a different prism, and it isn’t better or worse, but it has to be respected,” she said.

Margolies says Women’s Campaign International helps provide mentors to young women, guiding them on a broad range of issues.

“They’ve decided to do different kinds of efforts. Some are healthcare. Some are education. Although it all cross-pollinates, because you can’t deal with healthcare if you don’t deal with issues of the environment or finance,” she said.

In addressing the CGI annual meeting, Mr. Clinton said that “this year’s commitments represent not only a deep respect for humanity, but also inspire others to transform their ideas and innovation into substantive global action.”

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid