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
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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid