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

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

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