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President Bush Announces Aid To Fight Malaria

George W. Bush
President Bush says he will ask Congress for more than $1 billion to fight malaria in Africa. Mr. Bush is also proposing increased funding for programs to help educate and protect African women.

As he prepares for this year's G-8 economic summit, President Bush is speaking out about Africa.

Britain's Tony Blair, the host of this year's gathering, hopes the summit will adopt a major aid initiative. President Bush makes clear he endorses the goal of fostering development, but has some plans of his own.

He said assistance must be tied to reforms with the end result of promoting development, trade, and good governance. "... all of which will help African peoples lead better lives and eventually overcome the need for aid," said President Bush. "America is helping in these areas because we share with African leaders a vision of what the continent can become."

In a speech here in Washington, President Bush stressed U.S. aid to Africa has already tripled since he took office - due in large part to new American efforts to combat AIDS, and provide grants to countries that implement certain reforms.

He said that at the upcoming meeting in Scotland of the leaders of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Russia, he will press for more international help for Africa in three specific areas.

Mr. Bush said roughly one million people died of malaria last year in Africa, many of them small children. He said fighting the disease must be a priority.

"I will urge developed countries and private foundations to join in a broad aggressive campaign to cut the mortality rate from malaria across Africa in half and our nation is prepared to lead," he said.

The president said he would ask Congress for $1.2 billion to fund the effort. He said it would begin next year in three countries - Tanzania, Uganda, and Angola - and gradually spread to others.

Mr. Bush also announced a doubling of U.S. spending on programs to promote education in Africa. He said $400 million will be allocated over four years to train half a million teachers and provide scholarships for 300,000 young people, mostly girls.

In addition, the president said the United States would provide help to those African countries seeking to improve legal protections for women against sexual violence and abuse.

"I ask Congress to provide $55 million over three years to promote justice and empowerment in poor African nations - nations that stand as examples of reform to others," said George W. Bush. "I will urge other G-8 nations in protecting the lives and the rights of women in Africa."

Mr. Bush has resisted calls to join the British proposal to substantially increase aid to Africa by enabling African countries to raise money on global capital markets now, based on long-term aid commitments. The president has said this funding mechanism is not compatible with laws governing the U.S. budget process.