Assistant Secretary Camuñez’ Opening Remarks at the OSCE Economic and Environmenatl Dimension Implementation Meeting
(Remarks as prepared for delivery at the Opening Session of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting)
On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank the Lithuanian Chairman-in-Office, Secretary General Zannier, Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities Svilanovic, and of course our Austrian hosts for convening this inaugural Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting and for providing a warm welcome to Vienna. It is an honor to be here today as head of the U.S. delegation to the OSCE, representing the U.S. Government in my capacity as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, and as a Commissioner to the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Since I joined the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) in September of 2010, I have been responsible for helping lead the effort to open new markets for U.S. companies, identifying and eliminating market access challenges such as non-tariff barriers to trade, and helping to monitor and enforce U.S. trade agreements and commitments. The work of the Environmental and Economic Dimension, especially that focused on transparency of markets and good governance, is closely aligned with the work we undertake at ITA.
I am here today to deliver the message that the U.S. Government is highly committed to making the second dimension even more effective and dynamic, and that we will do our part in ensuring that our economic and environmental commitments receive the same level of attention and scrutiny that those in the political-military and human dimensions currently enjoy.
I will try to keep my remarks brief, but I think it is critical that we take a close look at the economic and environmental commitments as they were spelled out in the 2003 Maastricht Strategy. We still see Maastricht as the key blueprint for moving forward on all the commitments that have come before, and in particular, note a number of areas where we could pursue significant, substantive action over the next few years to achieve measurable progress.
Our commitments on economic cooperation have at their core the idea of connectedness to regional and global markets, to trade and investment networks, and to energy and transportation infrastructure, as a way to address emerging economic challenges and threats. In light of the global economic downturn, it is vital that we recommit ourselves to increasing cooperation through a variety of measures, including improving corporate governance and public management, eliminating unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to trade, continuing to harmonize our regulations and standards where appropriate, taking further steps to combat financial crimes like bribery and money laundering, and increasing confidence through the incorporation of transparency principles in all our public and private ventures. At the same time, in view of progress made this year worldwide on empowering women in the economy, first at the Invest for the Future Conference in Istanbul in January and most recently at the APEC Summit in San Francisco, we believe it is important to recognize the critical connection between women and strong economies, and remove all the barriers that prevent women from full and equal participation in the economy.
We have committed ourselves time and again to “good governance,” and while progress has been made, much work remains to be done. As stated in the 2003 Maastricht Strategy, achieving good governance will require a comprehensive, long-term strategic approach. In the view of the U.S. Government, good governance is the core theme within the economic and environmental dimension, and we are pleased that next year’s Forum will address the topic in a broad and detailed way.
What do we mean when we talk about good governance? Good governance is about governments having both the propensity and the competence to manage complex political and economic systems in a fair, fully inclusive, and transparent way. Anti-corruption is part of it, but not the whole picture. Having transparent, clear and predictable legislative and regulatory frameworks that foster efficient and low cost business formation and development, and most importantly allow and even encourage robust participation in the political and economic spheres by civil society, is the essence of good governance. Moreover, having well-trained, dedicated professionals implementing these frameworks is imperative, lest well-crafted laws and regulations become mere words on paper. Improving governance in all its aspects and in all areas of public life will contribute to mutual confidence and security.
Let me say a few words about my agency’s past and current work in this area, reserving greater details and the highlights of a new proposal for Session III tomorrow. From 1998-2008, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched a Good Governance Program, focused on partnering with the public and private sectors in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Central-Eastern Europe. This work, focused on promoting sound corporate governance and business ethics, culminated in the publication of a Business Ethics Manual, a Commercial Dispute Resolution Handbook, and a Corporate Governance Manual translated into several languages and disseminated widely throughout the OSCE region. Today, we continue to work on numerous initiatives around the world, within multilateral fora such as APEC and the G20, which involve OSCE members, promoting consensus based principles focused on anti-corruption. We have taken our business ethics work and branched out into new regions including Asia and Latin America.
The lack of good governance and systemic corruption remain some of the single most important market access challenges for companies engaged in trade around the world. This is especially true for small and medium sized enterprises, which are the engine of economic growth and innovation throughout the world. The United States believes that addressing these issues can only lead to greater investment, economic prosperity and security.
At these meetings we will discuss OSCE support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). I am pleased to report that the U.S. Department of Commerce played an important role in supporting the creation of the EITI in its initial phase. The OSCE now has a chance to follow in the steps of the G8 and G20, by endorsing the EITI, and I applaud the governments that have recently signed on as implementers, of which the United States has recently announced its intention to become one. The EITI is a great example of how shared commitments towards good governance and transparency in a vital sector to many countries can work and build sustained momentum and engagement between the private sector, governments and civil society.
Later today, I will share more concrete information about the work that the U.S. Government and my Department have undertaken to promote good governance and to combat corruption. I am also pleased to have an expert on business ethics and anti-corruption in the energy sector, as part of the U.S. delegation. Mr. Matthew Murray runs the Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance in St. Petersburg, Russia, and will speak to you later about a good governance initiative involving public and private stakeholders in the power generation sector in Russia, which may serve as a model for similar programs in other OSCE countries.
A month ago, the Economic and Environmental Forum discussed the concept of sustainability and where efforts to promote sustainable practices stand in our region. Those discussions remind us that our commitments on sustainable development encompass a broad spectrum of activities related to efficiency, sound resource management, and the full involvement of all stakeholders in decision-making. Just to cite an example from the Prague Forum, we recognize that in order to further develop economies and markets in such varied areas as the Black Sea region and Central Asia we will need to address several problems: improving the efficiency of border crossings and building construction, tilting the energy mix towards cleaner fuels, harmonizing standards and practices across the region, and, just as critically, ensuring broad involvement of civil society in the decision-making on project proposal, design, and implementation.
Protecting the Environment
One thing that sets the OSCE apart from many other organizations addressing the environment is recognition of the clear connection between the environment and security. We recognize that many environmental disasters cannot be predicted or prevented. At the same time, greater transparency – through information sharing and civil society engagement – about possible security risks stemming from the environment will make it possible to prevent or mitigate more disasters, both natural and man-made. We also must recognize that failure to protect the environment is itself a security risk, putting increased pressure on populations facing dwindling resources of clean air and water, arable farmland, and adequate energy.
These next three days provide a critical juncture and platform for finding consensus on measures that will improve our implementation of the OSCE commitments in the economic and environmental dimension. The Vilnius Ministerial is only a month and a half away; now is the time to summon the political will to find a way forward. We look forward to building consensus on decisions on energy security, to include good governance and transparency, and we welcome constructive dialogue on additional measures proposed on confidence-building initiatives and sustainable transport.
Just one month ago, we found some convergence of opinion on discrete aspects of the second dimension. Let us expand that convergence to the entire dimension as we review our economic and environmental commitments over the next few days, with a view toward substantive deliverables for Vilnius.
Thank you, Moderator.
Though our bilateral friendship has existed for over 200 years, the events of December 2010 – January 2011 leading to the Tunisian Revolution have given the relationship between the United States and Tunisia an even greater impetus. The courageous struggle of the Tunisian people that led to the fall of an oppressive regime literally changed the course of the history of the Middle East and North Africa region in an irreversible way, and continues to inspire today. Now more than ever, the United States stands with the people and Government of Tunisia as they chart a course towards greater political inclusiveness, socio-economic development and responsible participation in the international community.
In recognition of our long-standing bilateral relationship, strengthened in recent months by Tunisia’s democratic transition and its commendable effort to undertake critical political and economic reforms, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tunisian Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Mouldi Kefi met September 22 to inaugurate a new framework for bilateral cooperation, the U.S.-Tunisia Joint Political and Economic Partnership (JPEP). Under this framework, the ministers decided to coordinate on a range of issues of mutual concern and identify areas for future collaboration.
Since January and in immediate response to the Tunisian Revolution, the United States has committed $40 million in support of the Tunisian transition. With these funds, we have supported Tunisia’s efforts to lay the groundwork for responsive, accountable governance and to prepare for elections. The United States has also been helping to build the capacity of Tunisian civil society organizations, political parties, and media to mobilize and effectively advocate for the interests of the Tunisian people. The United States is committed to helping the judicial authorities to ensure accountability, equality and impartiality under the law, and to support a redress of grievances stemming from the former regime.
Upon conclusion of the first exchange under the framework of the U.S.-Tunisia JPEP, the Governments expressed their political commitment to the following additional cooperation.
Democracy, Governance and Civil Society Support
In order to support Tunisia’s transition to democracy, the United States is committed to working in partnership with Tunisia’s government institutions and with Tunisian citizens as they seek to ensure that Tunisia’s elections and political systems are fair, open and transparent and that all its citizens have the opportunity to engage in every aspect of the country’s transition. The governments decided to work in partnership with the people of Tunisia to seize opportunities to strengthen political processes, enhance civil society, advance the rule of law, promote transitional justice and human rights, and encourage the development of an independent, professional and pluralistic media sector.
Defense & Security Sector Cooperation
To demonstrate our mutual commitment to Tunisia’s construction of a new society governed by the rule of law and respect for human rights, the Governments intend to conclude negotiations before the end of the current year for a foreign assistance program to support the development of more transparent, responsive, and accountable criminal justice institutions.
To demonstrate our shared commitment to fighting the terrorist threat, the Governments resolved to cooperate closely through increased training assistance, information-sharing, and work to counter extremist messaging.
To further strengthen bilateral legal cooperation, the Governments intend to begin negotiations this fall on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty concerning criminal matters.
In continued support for Tunisia’s national security efforts and to advance our broader bilateral military cooperation, the United States is resolved to assist in reinforcing the defense capacities of Tunisia.
Academic and Cultural Cooperation
To demonstrate our mutual commitment to expanding two-way academic, professional and cultural cooperation, the Governments have decided to collaboratively develop a strategy that increases mutual understanding and responds to the Tunisian government’s request for assistance in four specific areas:
1. Provide advisory capacity to Tunisian students pursuing post-secondary degrees, with a specific focus within the areas of science and technology, engineering and computer sciences;
2. Strengthen the research and development capacity of Tunisian higher education institutions;
3. Build institutional and human capacity among Tunisian students and workforce on a technical level through vocational training and other means, and,
4. Develop policies and programs that stimulate innovation and lead to flexible academic programs that meet student needs.
Through this strategy, the Governments aim to increase the quality of education, specifically in the sciences; improve the employability of their citizens; and boost job creation.
The Governments also recognize the importance of language learning, and in particular expanding English language learning and training opportunities among Tunisian educators and youth. The Governments intend to continue their efforts to expand existing English language programming in Tunisia, and continue to look for innovative means to scale up English-language initiatives.
To reinforce our mutual commitment to creating broad-based economic opportunity for Tunisia’s citizens, the Governments resolve to deepen and broaden their cooperation on creating an environment conducive to business and entrepreneurship. That cooperation includes providing regulatory, legal and institutional support to advance transparent governance and combat corruption, and to develop more effective financing for entrepreneurs and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tunisia.
To demonstrate our mutual commitment to promoting increased travel and trade, enhancing productivity, and spurring high-quality job opportunities and economic growth, the Governments expect to launch negotiations for a bilateral “Open Skies” Air Transport Agreement in 2012.
The Government of the United States and the Government of Tunisia, in recognition of the Tunisian Ministry of Finance’s aim to improve fiscal discipline in tax collection, decided to collaborate on assistance projects. The Governments recognize that the Domestic Finance for Development (DF4D) initiative introduced by President Obama and Secretary Clinton is an excellent vehicle for this effort, as it encompasses improvements in tax administration, reduction of corruption and an increase in fiscal transparency.
To promote entrepreneurship for job creation, the Governments decided to engage in targeted technical assistance to support GOT restructuring of, and innovation in, its microenterprise enabling environment.
To build the capacity of vocational training institutes and increase the employability of their graduates, the Governments decided to increased partnerships between U.S. community colleges and Tunisian vocational-technical training institutes. The United States is also prepared to offer targeted technical assistance in support of GOT efforts to reform aspects of the vocational-technical system in Tunisia.
The Governments decided to partner on technical and agricultural information-sharing and cooperation through Tunisia’s incorporation into the U.S. government’s Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence and regional Water and Livelihoods Initiative.
To improve the capacity of the Tunisian agricultural sector and to facilitate trade, the Governments intend to pursue training for Tunisian agriculturalists from public and/or private sector institutions through the United States’ Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs next year.
Under the auspices of the 2002 U.S.-Tunisia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the Governments intend to meet in Tunis by the end of September to exchange views on
ways and means to re-launch bilateral discussions within this framework, building on the results of the three TIFA Council meetings held in 2003, 2005 and 2008. The two sides intend to develop concrete steps they could take to stimulate trade and investment between the U.S. and Tunisian business communities. The Governments intend to explore the possible expansion of trade in mutually decided sectors.
As the next chair of the Group of Eight, the United States is committed to continuing efforts with all the countries of the Deauville Partnership to advance the goals of democratic transition and economic reform, and providing a platform of ongoing support that focuses on trade and investment promotion, coordinated international and regional financial institutions support for homegrown economic and governance reforms, and enhanced support to private sector development.
To galvanize the interests of potential investors in the Tunisian market, the Governments intend to undertake events that link potential investors to the Tunisian diaspora who are, indeed, among the best and most genuine exemplars of the benefits of doing business in Tunisia. To that end, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation intends to explore how to catalyze significant new American private sector investment in Tunisia, including expansion of small-to-medium enterprise lending, as well as opportunities in franchising, infrastructure, and renewable resources and clean technology in the country.
Mohammed Mouldi Kefi Hillary Rodham Clinton
Foreign Minister, Tunisia Secretary of State, United States
Remarks delivered during a panel on the Realization of the Right to Development
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We thank the panelists for their thoughtful presentations.
The United States has some well-known concerns about the “right to development.” To move forward, we would like to consider ways we can work together constructively and make the right to development a uniting, rather than divisive, issue on the international human rights agenda.
Fostering development continues to be a cornerstone of U.S. international engagement, and we are the largest bilateral donor of overseas development assistance. President Obama, in his speech at the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Review last September, reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for achievement of the MDGs and announced a new U.S. Global Development Policy that guides our overall development efforts.
The United States is committed to development, but we continue to have concerns about the direction discussions on the right to development have taken over the years.
We are willing to work with the proponents of the right to development to expand the consensus on this topic in a way that will be mutually beneficial, if we take into account the following five points:
First, discussions and resolutions on the right to development should not include unrelated material on controversial topics, particularly topics that are being addressed elsewhere. For example, the most recent version of the annual UNGA Third Committee resolution on the right to development contains 41 operative paragraphs, as opposed to four operative paragraphs in the most recent Human Rights Council resolution on the same topic.
Second, we are not prepared to join consensus on the possibility of negotiating a binding international agreement on this topic. At the very least, we would need more of a shared consensus on the definition and nature of the right to development before considering whether such a time- and resource-intensive course of action would be necessary and beneficial.
Third, theoretical work is needed to define the right to development and in particular to explain how it is a human right, i.e., a universal right that every individual possesses and may demand from his or her own government. This fundamental concern has not been adequately addressed.
Fourth, the recent efforts to come up with numeric or concrete indicators of development and its progress are interesting and warrant serious further consideration, though these efforts should leverage, not duplicate, the statistics of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, regional UN statistical agencies, and the work done to monitor the Millennium Development Goals.
Finally, discussion of this topic needs to focus on aspects of development that relate to human rights, i.e., those of individuals. Of course, that includes all human rights, civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
While we are strong supporters of international development, we have long expressed significant concerns about some understandings and interpretations of the right to development. We are willing to work to address those concerns in order to move forward on this important topic.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
TRADE MINISTER PANGESTU:
We have heard some exciting news that, for instance, Google is evaluating coming to Indonesia, and Facebook, who came to Indonesia a few weeks ago, may also be interested. And yesterday, it was mentioned that the entrepreneurship delegation from the U.S. who came a few days prior to this summit, many on their first visit to Indonesia, felt that the potential here was 10 times more than expected. So all good news, and it is really – coming and seeing and believing, I think, is the key word. And some of our winners already got some investors, so this is not just a summit, but there are real results.
I think our hard work is just beginning – that is to provide the right environment and ecosystem for entrepreneurship to ensure that the potential is realized, that the young entrepreneurs who are our future are provided access to walk the first mile and be sustained to reach the last mile. Not all will become billionaires, but as Tarun Khanna from Harvard Business School said, it is not about the few billionaires that is important; it is better to create billions of entrepreneurs.
It now gives me great pleasure to invite our distinguished keynote speaker. She is someone who truly understands what entrepreneurship means, and more importantly, the power and potential of women-run small and medium-sized businesses to drive economic growth. She and I share the same belief that when women progress, countries progress, and when women progress, we achieve economic development, reduction of poverty, and the human race takes a great leap. We believe real and strategic action must be done, and I believe this is something that is a commitment of Secretary Clinton. Women comprise more than half of the world’s population, yet they are also 70 percent of the world’s poor and two-thirds of those who are not taught to read and write; that women get much less of the loans available despite the fact that they are better at payback of these loans.
Her commitment is clear. My intelligence tells me that no matter how busy or tight your schedule is, she always finds time in her travel to meet with women who are advancing their societies and growing their countries’ economies. Some said that the number of times she has visited has been up to 85 countries in the 232 days since taking office in January 2009. This is from Bloomberg. And that is why she has become a champion of women’s access to credit, to markets, to communications technology, to training and mentoring and so much more. Her passion and commitment were instrumental in the many initiatives and public-private partnership programs to grow women’s business leaderships in the Middle East and many other programs, including the one that launched at APEC last year. We hope that such initiatives can also be launched in this region.
So please welcome the U.S. Secretary of State, a champion for social and economic entrepreneurs everywhere. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, may I invite you now to the podium, please. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here. I’ve been looking forward to coming this afternoon, and I want to thank all of you for being part of this exciting ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit running simultaneously with the ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. I want to express my appreciation to Minister Pangestu. She has been a terrific leader and host for this summit. I’m very grateful to her. I also want to thank our Indonesian hosts as well because so many of you have done a lot of the heavy lifting, so to speak, in order to make this a success. And I want to thank the Global Entrepreneurship Partnership Initiative chair, Chris Kanter. I want to thank our team from Washington who have been tireless in their promotion of entrepreneurship, and all of the Indian, Indonesian officials and others from across the ASEAN region.
Before I begin, I want just to express my heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with the people of Norway. The United States strongly condemns any kind of terrorism no matter where it comes from or who perpetuates it, and this tragedy strikes right at the heart of the soul of a peaceful people. Norway is well known for its efforts to resolve conflicts, bring people together, it sets a high example for social entrepreneurship. And this terrible event is especially heartbreaking because so many of the victims were young people under the age of 25, and our hearts go out to their families and to the Norwegian people and government. And this just reminds us what a precious gift we all have of our lives, and I think we are called to make the most of it for ourselves, but also for our communities, our countries and humanity.
I am delighted to participate in this first ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit. And I congratulate all of you, the entrepreneurs and investors, the government officials and development experts who are exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, creating new opportunities and even making investments. Now, Indonesia is the natural choice to hold this first summit. This is, as you know, one of the three largest democracies in the world in a dynamic region that is increasingly at the heart of global commerce and growth.
Like so many other countries, Indonesia is also home to an enormous population of young people. Almost 75 million Indonesians are under the age of 18. Now, those young people are growing up in a world very different than the one I grew up in, and they are connected in ways that I could never have imagined even 10 years ago, let alone a long time ago when I was that age. And the jobs and opportunities that they need and deserve cannot and will not be created by governments alone no matter how large a public sector grows. And while traditional corporations and established industries are very important, the fact is they too are unlikely to create all the jobs needed for the future.
So what we need to do is what you have been doing – tap the creativity and innovation of citizens, men and women alike. I like to say that talent is universal but opportunity is not. We can begin to change that if we find ways to unleash people’s potential, help good ideas take root and flourish. And potential entrepreneurs are all around us. They are anyone with the imagination to conceive of a new product, process, or service, the ability, persistence, and sheer hard work to turn that idea into something real.
Now, my father was an entrepreneur. He had a small fabric printing business and he employed one or two workers to help him, depending upon the level of his business orders. But he also enlisted my mother, my brothers, and me. One of my earliest memories as a little girl is standing at a very long table on which a very long roll of cloth is laid and helping to lift a screen, a silk screen, from place to place and then helping to hold the squeegee of the paint to push it over the screen and then lift it up and continue down the table.
So my father, who was a man of modest means – he didn’t have a lot of money, he had no personal connections of any sort – it was just his sheer hard work, his shoe leather as well as his brain power. And he made his business succeed. Now, he did not become a millionaire or a billionaire, but he supported his family, he sent us to college, he gave us a very comfortable life through his own persistence, his self confidence, and a willingness to take risks.
Now, when I was growing up, we called that the American dream and it attracted tens of millions of immigrants to our shores and still does. Entrepreneurship has been written into the DNA of the American people. But I have now traveled enough to see that there are people all over the world with the talent and the drive to achieve the same goals. So I have learned that this is also a universal dream.
Earlier this week, in Chennai in Southern India, I visited the Working Women’s Forum, a community organization that provides microfinance loans, training and support so that very poor women can start their own small businesses and participate in the formal economy. I met a woman there who had come with her family as a refugee from Burma. She stood up in front of a very crowded room, including television cameras, and told her story in a very confident presentation.
She talked about how when she arrived, she and her family had nothing, that there were predatory lenders charging high interest rates for what she wanted to do, to start a small business to support herself and her family. She talked about the pressure she was under from her family members to stay home, but her answer was, “Well, who is going to put food on the table? Who is going to provide the means for us to send the children to school if we do not all work?” And she ran into other obstacles that would have really paralyzed someone who was there all alone.
But fortunately, the Working Women’s Forum was there to help her. She had none of the advantages that allow entrepreneurs to thrive. But when she joined this women’s group, the door was finally open and now, she is supporting her family. She and her husband are sending their children to school and they’re following their own dreams.
That’s really what this summit is about. I mean, it talks about entrepreneurship, but it’s really about dreams, isn’t it? Because this story can be told millions of times over in every country on every continent, and we’re here today because we believe in the power of opportunity and entrepreneurship to transform lives and lift up communities. And we’re committed in the Obama Administration to helping entrepreneurship grow further and faster all over the world, and this summit is evidence of that.
But we need to tackle the obstacles. It’s not enough just to bring together in one place experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders with young people with good ideas even who have already started their businesses. We need to tackle the obstacles that entrepreneurs face – cumbersome government regulations, corrupt officials who demand a bribe before issuing a business permit, and for women like the woman I met in Chennai, cultural norms that might prevent her from handling money or owning land.
The United States wants to work with you to bring down these barriers. That means reducing the time it takes to open a business here in this region. It means connecting entrepreneurs with investors, not only in their own countries, but outside them, as has happened here. Improving the business climate by protecting intellectual property rights; if you come up with a good idea, it should be protected so that you can then make the most of it and spin it off into who knows where it might go, and of course, making it easier for foreign investors to find local projects worthy of support.
And we particularly want to encourage women entrepreneurs, because, as the minister said, no economy can thrive if it leaves half the population behind. In fact, a recent United Nations study estimated that in the Asia Pacific region, the untapped potential of women has cost the region more than $40 billion in lost GDP over the last decade. So we’re supporting new microfinance projects, building peer networks, and offering mentorships with American businesswomen.
This really builds on what President Obama emphasized in his 2009 speech in Cairo and that we reaffirmed at the entrepreneurship summit last year in Washington – American became a global economic power by nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation, by setting the conditions in which entrepreneurs like my father could thrive and ideas could flourish. And we believe other countries can do exactly the same by embracing this model.
That’s why we created the Global Entrepreneurship Program and why we are supporting initiatives like Partnerships For a New Beginning, which recently opened a local chapter here in Indonesia. With a network of public and private partners, we are identifying promising entrepreneurs like all of you here, helping to train them, connecting them with mentors and potential investors, while advocating for supportive policies and regulations and always, always talking about what actually works in the real world. We have led delegations of businesspeople and investors to Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, where they met with entrepreneurs. And we are connecting entrepreneurs all over the world with Diaspora communities living in the United States who actually want to support projects back in their ancestral homes.
I am pleased to announce that Indonesia is one of the five countries around the world in which the United States will work to foster angel investor groups and connect them with startups and entrepreneurs. And there is no shortage here in Indonesia, which is why we chose Indonesia. In the run-up to this summit, 500 Indonesians entered our business plan competition, running the gamut from high-tech innovators to more traditional brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs.
And many of them are here with us today. One of the prizes went to Indomog, an online payment gateway that offers vouchers for internet gainers. Another went to Gojek, which offers a motorcycle, taxi, and delivery service to Jakartans frustrated by traffic gridlock, which sounds very familiar for someone who comes from New York. Finalists have found new customers and new investors and, as the minister said, some have already received investments. One has received pledges for a million dollars’ worth of startup capital. And everyone, all 500 of you – (applause) – drew up a plan and took a chance on it. And I’d like all of the 500 who are still here who were chosen to please stand up so that we can applaud all of you, because you’re really what this is all about. (Applause.)
We want to see stories that are successes repeated here in Indonesia, across the ASEAN region, and around the world. Now, why would the United States be doing this? I think it’s fair to ask. Why are we doing this? Well, partly because we really come from a culture that thinks if we can help other people do better, that’s good for them and it’s good for us. It makes for a more prosperous, peaceful, stabler, more secure world. If people are given the opportunity to live up to their own God-given potential, they are more likely to make a contribution to their families, communities, countries, and indeed the world.
We’re also doing it because we think it works. We think that our own experience demonstrates that. And we have seen over now 235 years, but particularly in the last 150 years, we have seen people come from many of the ASEAN nations to our country with nothing in their pocket except a big dream that they hope to be able to realize. And yes, they worked hard, but they had worked hard back home. What was different is they now had the opportunity to profit from their work.
So when I travel around the world and I go to countries that are still not democracies, still putting up major barriers to women, still interfering with both men and women starting businesses, it breaks my heart because since I know people from practically every country on earth who have come to my own, I know that there are millions and millions more back where they came from who could be just as successful as that businesswoman or that doctor or that academic or whoever who came to the United States. And it wasn’t that they worked harder; it was they had a chance to profit from their work.
So we know this works, and we know too that free and open societies are more likely to benefit more people over a longer period of time than any other kind of society. And it’s not only a chance to vote in elections, as important as that is. It’s not only a free press, as critical as that is, or democratic institutions in a government that is transparent and accountable and produces results for people. It is whether there’s a free market and an economy that works for people who get up every day and work hard.
Now, not everybody is going to invent Google or Facebook, but they can be like my dad was. They can have their own small business, their own piece of that American dream or that Indonesian dream and they can do well for themselves and they can make a difference to the next generation. My mother never went to college. My father went to college on a football scholarship. He was a great athlete, not a great student. But because he could build a business, he was able to make our lives more and give us education and greater opportunity.
So we may come from different places and we certainly have different histories, different cultures, ethnicities, religions, all the things that too often separate human beings. As opposed to making us more interesting to each other, it too often provides gaps or gulfs, even, between us knowing one another and working with one another. But if you really look at what many of us know to be true, that the power of the individual, that the person with the good idea who is willing to work hard can do much more than grow a business.
As an entrepreneur, you literally can help shape the future, not only with your product or your service, but with your dream. So thank you for dreaming, thank you for being part of this first ever ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit, and please know that the United States believes in you, believes in your dreams, and wants to do whatever we can, working with you to help you realize them for the betterment of yourselves, your families, your communities, and a country like Indonesia. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Her Excellency Secretary Hillary Clinton, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and especially all of you young Indonesian and ASEAN entrepreneurs who will chart the next big chapter of the future of the region. Let me first of all welcome Her Excellency Secretary Hillary Clinton and thank her and the State Department, especially those from the Global Entrepreneurship Program, for the support in organizing this regional entrepreneurship summit. I would also like to thank the Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia and partners for all their hard work and passion and commitment. You can all pat yourselves in the back because you can literally feel the buzz of excitement in the room about the potential of Indonesia and the region.
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Bob.
Let me begin by saying it is a personal pleasure to be back in Central Asia, one of the world’s most historic and beautiful regions, which I first visited over ten years ago, while traveling with then-First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton. It is fitting that we come together in the region of the ancient Silk Road to spark greater economic opportunity and commerce through women’s leadership and participation on a modern day Silk Road.
I want to offer a very special welcome to each and every one of you, particularly the extraordinary women entrepreneurs, educators, policy-makers, and civil society leaders from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We are thrilled that you’ve come together. You represent a truly vital force for driving economic growth and progress in your region.
It is also a pleasure to be here with President Otunbayeva, whom I first met in Beijing in 1995 at the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women, where she gave an impassioned speech about the importance of women’s economic empowerment and highlighted the power of microfinance. Several years later, I had the opportunity to spend several days with her discussing women’s political participation at the Salzburg Seminar. Little known then, today she is President of her country and a model for democratic leadership and women’s progress. I want to thank her for her outstanding work and for being such a willing partner in addressing these issues.
I also thank the members of the U.S. embassies and consulates who are here, who worked so hard to bring us to this day, and particularly Ambassador Pamela Spratlen and her staff in Bishkek. Our embassies were not only instrumental in selecting you, but they will continue to work with you when you leave here, through online conversations and meetings in your country and the region, as well as new investments in training programs, access to finance, internships, and more. This conference is not an end, but a beginning.
We also have a wealth of partners represented here today, from leading international organizations, including UN Women, OSCE, EBRD, and IFC, to universities and foundations, including the American University of Central Asia, the University of Central Asia, and the Aga Khan Foundation, to private companies, including Mary Kay, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and Chevron. All of you are men and women who possess a reservoir of talent and experience in finance, technology, management and so many other areas. We are pleased that you, as representatives of your institutions and companies, have come together to share best practices and to make this, as Secretary Clinton said, not just a one-time event, but rather the beginning of a meaningful collaboration and a true investment for the future.
Today, there are many converging studies–from the World Bank to the World Economic Forum (WEF), from think tanks, universities, and corporations–that show that investing in women is a high yield investment. Gender equality in access to education, healthcare, political participation, and economic participation is key to a country’s competitiveness and prosperity. No wonder the World Bank calls gender equality “smart economics.” Women’s economic participation also provides a multiplier effect because women invest upwards of 90 percent of their income in their families and communities on health, education, and other investments for the betterment of society.
Women entrepreneurs offer people everywhere so much promise. It is a fact that women-run small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) drive economic growth and create jobs. This is true in my country and it is true around the world. And, women-owned enterprises often have a better growth rate and a better loan payback rate. That’s why one CEO remarked, “If you want to drive GDP, the best investment that can be made are women-run SME’s.”
And many of you here today are perfect examples.
Women are growing their ranks as entrepreneurs in Afghanistan. Last week, I saw Taj Serat, who owns a soccer ball business that employs several hundred women who create high quality balls, which the company has just begun to export.
This past Saturday in Uzbekistan, I met a remarkable woman, Zora Rakhmatullaeva, who was disabled. She said that day after day she used to sit at home feeling useless. She got up her strength one day and set out to organize others like her to create a viable business. She now heads up the Association of Business Disabled Women and showed me pictures of the beautiful curtains, bedspreads, and other home fabrics that women with disabilities are making through their viable business.
I also remember meeting Rauschan Sarsembayeva from Kazakhstan several years ago. She is an outstanding business leader, who as head of the Women’s Business Association of Kazakhstan, has trained women through vocational technology programs and placed them in jobs. She pays her experience forward, so others may also succeed.
And when I was with First Lady Hillary Clinton here in Bishkek in 1997, I saw firsthand how women, thanks to micro-credit, were able to establish small businesses to support themselves and their families, despite challenging economic times.
But as many of you know, and as these women would also readily acknowledge, women’s success is often hindered by barriers that often undermine their ability to start or to expand their business. Barriers like lack of access to markets, to training, mentors, and technology. Today, for example, 300 million fewer women than men have mobile phones. This gender gap is depriving women of a vital technology that is critical to economic success. In addition, women often confront corruption, discriminatory regulations or practices like lack of inheritance and property rights. Sometimes women are subject to blatant or subtle harassment, disparagement, or dismissive treatment. In some places, women cannot conduct transactions without the permission or participation of male family members. And, of course, it’s also difficult to balance the responsibilities of family and work.
Access to finance is perhaps the major challenge to women for business growth everywhere. Micro-credit has lifted up millions and millions of poor women around the world and enabled them to earn an income, support their families, and pay back their loans at close to 100% repayment rates. I remember a woman who told me how she had longed for a high-powered sewing machine, but did not have the means to purchase one. She told me that she felt like “a bird released from its cage” when she got the loan that enabled her to finally get the machine, grow her business, and pay back her loan.
Yet the significant gender gap to finance remains painfully acute as it affects what we might call “the missing middle” of the small and medium enterprise sector, which is mostly women-run and has the best growth and jobs creation potential. That’s why my government is working to help women overcome obstacles to greater economic participation. We are hoping that through this conference and the follow-on activities, we will better help you to overcome such barriers.
Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca Cola, put it another way. Several months ago he announced a significant new commitment by Coca Cola to empower five million women entrepreneurs by 2020. He said that the “21st century goes to the women.” He went on to explain why: “The only way a projected billion people will rise to middle class in the next ten years, the only way nations will rise out of poverty and become politically stable will be by women achieving gender parity on a global scale.”
To reach their full national economic potential, countries must also prepare and train their girls and women to participate equally, and to compete effectively, in the local, regional and global marketplaces. Educating a girl is the simplest, most effective development investment that can be made with high yield dividends for her and her future family. Young women also need market-relevant education, leadership skills, and encouragement to apply their talents in the more lucrative, although perhaps less traditional, sectors.
In addition, women need to be represented at the policy-making table if the needs of their families, communities and societies are to be fully addressed. As your businesses grow, we are confident you will speak out against corruption when you see it. As your businesses grow, we know you will be voices for a climate that fosters innovation and prosperity. As your businesses grow, you will advocate with your leaders for a system that promotes greater communication and trade. As leaders in business, we know you will also work to strengthen democratic institutions and civil society. And working together, you will not only benefit your businesses and grow your economies, but also strengthen cross-border relationships.
Each of you is helping to chart a path to a better tomorrow for yourselves and your families, your communities, and your countries. And in so doing, you are also role models for young women who want to start their own business or move ahead in their careers. If you build a network of women leaders that spans this region, there will be no stopping you and no stopping progress for this region. We know that empowering women is one of the most effective and positive forces for reshaping the globe. It is a simple fact that no country can get ahead if it leaves half its people behind.
We know too that you will share this investment in you with others as women always do, that you will pay this experience forward to benefit so many more. When women progress, everyone benefits: men and women, boys and girls. The Silk Road will thrive again as you travel on your journey, not on camels, but through women’s greater economic participation. As you move toward your destination of economic, social, and political progress, you, like the traders of old, will create new opportunities for all.
I hope you have a productive and rewarding experience over the next day and a half, and in the months and years to come. We will work together with you as partners, in order to create a better future for people throughout this region.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Can you please sit down? Mr. President, Madam Secretary of State, Honorable Bernard Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, ambassadors, (inaudible), distinguished members of the government of both the U.S. and Tanzania, ladies and gentlemen of the media, I would like to thank Mr. President and Madam Secretary of State for the honor of making this joint press availability possible. To bring this event underway, therefore, is my (inaudible), Mr. President, to invite you to make your opening statement.
Mr. President, you have the floor.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Madam Secretary of State, let me once again welcome you to Tanzania. We are so happy that you were able to come and put Tanzania in your itinerary. Your visit speaks volumes about the state of our bilateral relations in many ways (inaudible) visits by officials of our two countries have contributed (inaudible) relations.
Tanzania has very fond memories of the visit by President Bush. I have had the (inaudible) of visiting the White House three times, twice in President Bush’s time and once during President Obama’s time. Tanzanians are now anxiously waiting for the visit of President Obama, and I can assure you if he chooses to visit, that’s going to be a visit of a lifetime. (Laughter.)
Well, our two countries have strong relations. And I mean, these last few years have been better than ever in the history of our two countries. We see eye-to-eye on many international issues and work together in international fora on regional and international issues.
Tanzania has received a lot of invaluable high-level support from the U.S. Government. It has complimented our development efforts and continues to make a difference in improving the lives of our people in the health sector. Through the U.S. Government, thousands of Tanzanians, including women and children, who would have died of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB, are alive today thanks to your support. Through your support, deaths from malaria has been reduced by half, from 120,000 per annum to 60- and 80,000. Malaria has been eliminated in Zanzibar. In the past, 40 percent of visitations to hospitals were of malaria cases. Now it’s only 20 percent.
(Inaudible) reduction of maternal and child mortality is very much a function of the capacity built on controlling malaria and HIV/AIDS. The infection rates in HIV have climbed down from 18 percent in the 1980s to 5.4 percent. These days, pregnant women who are infected with HIV are assured of giving birth to HIV-free children, and thanks again to the PMI, President’s Malaria Initiative, and PEPFAR in this regard.
In education, I had many requests to you and to the President when I visited in May 2009 to support us with teacher education and with textbooks. You have delivered on that promise. We have 200 Peace Corps (inaudible) science and mathematics teachers. We have received already 800,000 textbooks, science textbooks and mathematics’, 1.4 million are on the way. The availability of textbooks in our schools has been increased. Eight thousand teachers have been getting training through U.S. Government support. The MCA, Millennium Challenge Account, has done so well. New roads have been built, water supply has been improved, electricity supply has been improved, and MCA alone benefits 8 million Tanzanians. It is quite phenomenal, and that’s why we appreciate it.
Our two governments have been working together on some of the global scourges like terrorism, narcotics, piracy. And through the support of the U.S. Government helping build the capacities of our security organs, we have been making tremendous successes in this regard. Tanzania has become a difficult place for perpetrators of these crimes now to operate. Recently we caught this kingpin of narcotics, this Kenyan lady Mama. Terrorists who pass through here are always apprehended. We have caught a number of them. Piracy is another problem for us, but we are dealing with them. We’ve encountered several of them. We have 11 of them that we arrested them at sea trying to hijack ships in our territorial waters.
And all this is something that we attribute to the support of your government. So Madam Secretary, I can say that we thank you for the support and U.S. taxpayers’ money is well spent in the U.S. and it’s making a big difference – again, support that we are part of the new initiatives, Partnership for Growth, we can’t really find words to thank you, Madam. (Inaudible) the international issues we have been working together and African challenges and global challenges, we appreciate U.S. leadership. Where U.S. leadership is there, it makes a lot of difference.
So (inaudible) is appreciated, continue to work with the U.S. Government for peace and development in Tanzania, in Africa, and the world. Once again, welcome, and I will give the floor to you, Madam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Mr. President, thank you very much for your generous hospitality and the time that we have spent together this morning in a very wide-ranging and comprehensive discussion, certainly about the progress that is being made here in Tanzania and the commitment that the United States has to work with the government and people of this country on nutrition and food security, on energy, on women’s and children’s health, on HIV/AIDS, sustainable development, and so much more.
There is a reason why I’m here and why our commitment is so strong, and that is because the United States and Tanzania have a deep partnership. We are united by mutual respect and mutual interests, but most of all by shared values and the aspirations for a more peaceful and prosperous future. We respect Tanzania’s record of democratic progress, which is making it a model for the region and beyond, and we support the continuing efforts to strengthen the institutions of democracy.
I had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit some of the projects that the United States is doing with Tanzania, and we are very impressed with the level of commitment that we have seen from the people working in these areas. So we will continue to support you and your country, Mr. President, because you are making a real difference.
I also want to thank you for your work on increasing economic integration through your leadership and membership in the East African Community and now through the exciting initiative that you discussed in SADC of creating a free trade area from Cape Town to Cairo. That’s a long-term objective, but it’s a worthy goal.
So we not only talked about what was happening here in Tanzania, but also the regional and global outlook. We discussed Madagascar and Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Somalia, and many other important issues that Tanzania is watching carefully and which the president and his government are involved in trying to address.
So Mr. President, again, thank you for your leadership and thank you for your very kind invitation to meet with you and to compare notes on many of the issues that Tanzania is confronting and the issues that affect the neighborhood as well. Thank you, Mr. President.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your statements. We will now open the floor to the media. We will allow one or two questions from each side, the American side and the (inaudible) with no opportunity for a follow-up question because it’s in the interest of time. And so the floor is now open, so please introduce yourself, mention your affiliation, and ask your questions.
QUESTION: Thank you. David Malingha Doya of Bloomberg News. Mr. President, when you met President Obama to discuss about what his Administration will do for Africa, you advised a focus on agriculture. I would like to know as Tanzania, what have you done in the first place to improve (inaudible) agriculture and what kind of support are you getting from the American Government? Thank you.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Okay. Well, of course, it is true I raised the issue of agriculture because our concern is focused on the African continent. We want to lift up people from poverty to prosperity. Eighty percent of the people live in rural areas and agriculture is the mainstay. But it is peasant agriculture, local activity, and that’s why we have got to do something. If you want to make a difference in poverty, deal with the agriculture question. This is our policy internally. We have a number of initiatives to deal with the constraints that are facing agriculture. MSDP is one of them, where it is essentially because of our government tackling the challenges of agriculture.
And then we go to the private sector. We – through the Kilimo Kwanza Agriculture First Initiative. Now we broaden that. It is now bringing in the agriculture the private sector that is Tanzanian, but we also – we are also going global. With the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor, SAGCOT, we are now bringing in the international players now – Monsanto (inaudible). On the seed side, on the seeds we have Yara fertilizers, Unilever, a number of these (inaudible) players also coming in to (inaudible) with Tanzanian private sector and Tanzanians in promoting agricultural growth.
Of course, on the American side we are getting the support that (inaudible), of course. We’ve been working together with the U.S. Government, USAID, in a number of programs. But now we have bigger programs, Feed the Future, where we are part of this and it’s still going to help us address the challenges of food security and nutrition, which is part of that.
Of course, the support we are getting through MCA of doing the roads, extending electricity, all of these are going also to help promoting agriculture. The two roads – Namtumbo-Songea-(inaudible), Tunduma-Sumbawanga – (inaudible) with those good roads definitely these goods can get to the markets and promote growth in those areas. So this (inaudible) I can say there is so much (inaudible) and about promoting agriculture. The USAID is helping us in the – in SAGCOT itself. They have contributed $2 million to the Catalytic Fund. So we are getting a lot of support. We appreciate that.
MODERATOR: The next question will come from an American journalist.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President and Madam Secretary. I was hoping you would discuss a little bit the proposals being discussed even now to send peacekeepers into the Abyei region in Sudan and reports that President Bashir has pledged to withdraw troops from the region before independence on July 9th.
And Madam Secretary, is it possible that you would be willing to meet President Bashir later today in Ethiopia? Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, let me start. Indeed we discussed Abyei, but what I can say is that after the unfortunate incident, we had discussions with many friends, including Ambassador Carson – I think we were on the phone – discussed about it. I spoke to President Bashir. I also spoke to President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan. And my appeal to them has been that let them sit down and sort out the problem. Indeed, there has been some progress in, I think, the meeting today in Addis Ababa, and let’s wait what’s going to come out of the Addis Ababa meeting.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steve, I am going to wait to get a report from the ongoing discussions. They went long into the night and are, as the president said, continuing today in Addis Ababa, where we will be later this afternoon.
The United States strongly believes that a robust peacekeeping presence should be a central part of the security arrangements in Abyei and that the Government of Sudan should urgently facilitate a viable security arrangement, starting with the withdrawal of Sudanese armed forces. So we would welcome both parties agreeing to ask Ethiopia, which has volunteered to send peacekeepers, to do so as part of a United Nations mission that will be strengthened.
But I’m not going to go further than that until I get a full readout of what is occurring in Addis Ababa. The United States has made our views very clearly known to both President Bashir and Vice President Kiir, and I am looking forward to hearing positive news out of their ongoing discussions with Prime Minister Meles and former President Mbeki.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Madam Secretary. We’ll now take the second and final question from the Tanzanian media.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) from the Pan-African News Agency. Mr. President, what you have said about the piracy in the Indian Ocean is (inaudible) concern in this region. And at the same time you have mentioned the United States cooperation in this area. I don’t know whether there is any specific plan of the United States to help the countries of the region to have a safe area in the Indian Ocean and do the trading as normal as has been that in the past. At the same time, may I ask you, Mr. President, do you have any specific assistance you would be pleased to see come from the United States to assist for these countries to fight pirates?
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, as I said, piracy is a problem. From March last year through to date, we have had 27 incidents of piracy encounters in our territorial waters. Of course, the problem used to be in the Horn. Now it’s moving south. Fifteen of those have been attempts to hijack ships. They succeeded in four. Our navy was able to rescue two ships. This year alone, we have had, I think, over 14 incidents from January to date.
So as I said, our navy is engaging them. We had four direct encounters with the pirates and have been able to apprehend 11. We caught 11 of them. They’re in our courts here, in our courts. So you can see (inaudible). Of course, the U.S. has been helping us, training of our navy, and we want continued support in this regard. We are still looking for the possibilities of getting bigger ships, but we have not been able to discuss that with the U.S. Government and we are still waiting on getting bigger ships so that we’d be able to go into the deeper waters to be able to (inaudible). So if we get big ships, we should be able to take care of our territorial waters.
The second question?
QUESTION: Mr. President, Madam Secretary, if I could, I’d like to ask about one of Tanzania’s more unfortunate neighbors, that being Zimbabwe. In the year of the Arab Spring, I’m wondering what should Africa’s message be to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe this year. He shows no sign of releasing his grip on his unhappy country. And specifically what is SADC prepared to do this year or ahead of the next elections that it has not done in previous years that will help to guarantee that Zimbabwe’s elections are free and fair and do not turn into another sort of bloody exercise in intimidation?
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, of course, you’re right. Zimbabwe as well has been one of our issues that we’ve been dealing with for quite some time. And in the SADC summit we held on the 11th and yesterday, Zimbabwe – besides Madagascar, we also discussed the issue of Zimbabwe.
And the understanding has been that as they go into elections, they should make sure that all the aspects of the roadmap or the Global Political Agreements are implemented. There have been ten of them. They have done six, but you see there are four that are remaining, and among them is the important issue of the constitution. They have finished (inaudible) the constitution, finished the referendum (inaudible) the processes of the parliament (inaudible) for elections.
So about who is to become the leader in Zimbabwe, that is a matter that is beyond my capacity.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would only add to the last two questions, which the president answered very well and comprehensively, with respect to piracy, the United States is working with Tanzania and other countries in the region because we view this as an international security threat and the Obama Administration is undertaking a thorough review of what more could be done. And the president and I discussed that and we are very impressed by the steps that Tanzania has taken on its own to apprehend pirates in their territorial waters and to hold them for trial here in Tanzania.
Secondly, with respect to Zimbabwe, I think the U.S. position is well known and we are encouraged by the SADC meeting discussing Zimbabwe yesterday which emphasized the importance of President Mugabe following the requirements of the Global Peace Agreement. This is what was agreed to. This is what we expect him to implement. And we are grateful for the leadership of Tanzania and others in the region who are making it very clear what the way forward should be. We will continue to follow this closely and support the work that Southern Africa is doing.
Thank you all.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. I have a little bit of a Mark Twain kind of feeling that I’ve been attending my own funeral. (Laughter.) I am quite humbled and somewhat embarrassed by the wealth of very kind and overly generous comments. But for me, it is an extraordinary honor to be here with all of you and certainly to receive this recognition from the Marshall Foundation. So thank you, Jay, and thanks to the entire board. Let me also recognize and thank the splendid VMI cadets who are here, including Rachel Singh, who accompanied me to the stage.
And I’m especially honored when I think of the prior recipients of this very distinguished award, including my colleague, Secretary Gates, whom I had the honor of introducing in the State Department in 2009. We’ve had a very special evening with so many good friends here, and Christiane, thank you for not only MCing but for the role that you’ve played in bringing so much of the world into America’s homes over the last years. To General Odierno, whom I am so pleased will be assuming a new position, subject to Senate confirmation – I learned to say that as a Senator. (Laughter.) And to the extraordinary presence of all of the sponsors of this event, Michael Strianese, thank you for your comments, and to Brian Shaw, and everyone who has made this evening so special.
I want to, in her absence, thank my friend, the former president of Chile, who has her own remarkable life story of resilience and strength. And to my dear friend and predecessor, Madeleine Albright, who has been a colleague and advisor and counselor, and who just recently completed for NATO an incredible job of looking at NATO’s strategic positioning for the future, leading a group of very esteemed representatives from across the NATO family, just one more evidence of Madeleine Albright’s continuing service to our country.
I think a lot about George Marshall. I have an extraordinary sense of the character and integrity, the commitment to service that led him to perform so admirably on behalf of our country during some of the most challenging times that we have ever faced. Leading our nation in war as a general, in peace as Secretary of State and later as Defense Secretary, he was, they say, the only man, according to President Truman, who could get along with Franklin Roosevelt, the Congress, Winston Churchill, the Navy, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And he did so while never avoiding the hard issues, while always sharing his best advice, speaking his mind.
I’ve seen a lot of people in public service over my time here in Washington who would be well served – and we would be better served – if George Marshall’s example were followed. I also know from the work that I have done over the last two and a half years how still contemporary the views that Marshall brought to the fore, following the Second World War, are today. He certainly spoke his mind in 1947, when he outlined the principles of what became known as the Marshall Plan. He is certainly very well remembered for one of the great foreign policy achievements of the 20th century.
Now many of us think of the Marshall Plan in concrete terms, literally. The allies won the war with guts and valor, and the Marshall Plan won the peace with bricks and mortar. But there was more to the plan than constructing buildings and bridges. Marshall knew the importance of economic growth to build stability, democracy, and security, not only in Europe but everywhere. And he knew that the people of Europe needed economic opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods, recover their dignity, and reset their destiny. By spurring the market economy, rebuilding the agricultural base, modernizing industry, and training European business leaders, his plan helped 17 nations including Germany and Italy take the lead in their own revitalization.
Now the cost of the four-year plan was $13 billion, which translates into more than $120 billion today. I often think about whether we would today be able to summon that kind of vision of a future that would be in America’s interests but would require continuing sacrifice. Now my father, who served for five years in the Navy during World War II, came out of service like so many men of that generation and was committed to making up for lost time with his family, with his business, trying to seize as much of the American dream as he possibly could. And here was President Truman and General Marshall saying, well, you’ve sacrificed a lot during the last years. We defeated enemies that were putting at risk everything we cared about. And yes, you’ve earned the chance to turn inward and think about all that makes life worth living and wars worth fighting. But we’re going to continue to tax you. We’re going to continue to require you to help us rebuild the very enemies that you have spent years trying to defeat. It’s almost unimaginable that the case was made, that the political environment accepted that case and understood what it meant for us.
We can look back now and see how the investment reaped dividends in so many different ways. It prompted European governments to denationalize their industries and strengthen their labor laws. It preempted the westward creep of communism. It helped us lay the foundation for winning the Cold War. And it created strong allies for the United States and laid the groundwork for the European Union. And the Marshall Plan wasn’t just important for the rebirth of Western Europe. It became a model for many nations in 1989, after the Berlin Wall came down. By establishing enterprise funds to spur investment in Eastern and Central Europe, we helped post-Soviet countries develop robust economies and new destinies.
We were mindful of the lessons of the Marshall Plan in all of the years since. Tomorrow in the State Department, we’ll be having an investment conference for Iraq. Some of you have told me you will be there as we try to help rebuild a country devastated by tyranny and war to achieve sustainable economic growth. In our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last years, we’ve certainly tried to apply wherever possible some of the Marshall principles, trying to target assistance toward private enterprise and ramp up existing energy infrastructure such as the electricity grids to attract investment and promote growth.
And today, as the Arab Spring unfolds across the Middle East and North Africa, some principles of the plan apply again, especially in Egypt and Tunisia. As Marshall did in 1947, we must understand that the roots of the revolution and the problems that it sought to address are not just political but profoundly economic as well. Remember the Tunisian vendor whose self-immolation launched the Arab Spring. He was what we might call a very small businessman, whose livelihood and dignity were threatened. Protesters across the region spoke out as passionately for jobs and economic opportunity as they did for freedom, human rights, and a voice in their own government.
An extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit is waiting to be tapped in countries like Egypt and Tunisia. Their people have the talent and the drive to build resilient economies and enduring democracies. If we support their efforts, we can help them unlock the region’s potential, rebuild their dignity, and realize their hopes. And I argue very strongly, by doing so we will advance our own security.
The United States has asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan that would help stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. We have offered, as the President explained in his speech a week ago, to provide up to $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt, and we’ve issued a $1 billion loan guarantee program to help finance infrastructure and job creation.
In addition, we will launch programs to allow private investors to help local companies build new businesses across the region, and we are working with Congress to create the kind of enterprise funds that supported the economic recovery of so many post-Soviet countries. These funds, drawn from existing programs within the State Department and USAID, would give Egyptian and Tunisian entrepreneurs and businesses the capital they need to start new ventures and thereby create jobs.
The world took an important step in this direction last Friday, when President Obama and the G8 leaders committed at least $20 billion to build economic growth and create jobs. And that complements the strong response underway from the Gulf countries. I think we all understand the opportunity we face and the consequences if we miss it.
So as we go forward, we can all learn a lot from George C. Marshall’s life, his service, and what he stood for. And we should remember first of all that the genius of the Marshall Plan was not in the money it provided; the money opened the door to the reforms that were promoted. That is what we must do today. I am well aware of the difficult budgetary times in which we live. I face that every single day in the work that I do. And I think often about 1947, about my father, a small businessman, a Republican through and through, who was asked to continue sacrificing for his children and grandchildren, to help build a more peaceful, secure, prosperous world.
Marshall advocated, from the moment he launched his plan, that we should offer partnership, not patronage, and that we should never lose sight of the real bottom line. Prosperity and freedom abroad mean security and opportunity here at home. And Marshall said the purpose of our policy should be, and I quote, “the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”
This is another important, historic moment. I think I can imagine the kind of ideas that George Marshall would be offering, and the challenge he would make to all of us as to whether we are up to this moment. It’s not only for Egyptians and Tunisians and others who may follow, but for all of us. So, General Marshall, let me reassure you that the United States is committed to the future of those willing to do the hard work of political and economic reform, to build democratic institutions, and open markets; to respect and protect human rights, and create conditions for men and women to fulfill their own God-given potentials.
If we recall what George Marshall did all those years ago and the benefits that still accrue to us, I hope we will summon the same will to do what is called for today. And with that, I thank you for keeping George Marshall’s values alive and present in this complex and fast-changing world. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Zambia has just completed hosting a follow-on conference to the highly successful 2010 African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) that took place in conjunction with the 2010 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. This year’s conference, hosted by Zambia’s 2010 AWEP Alumna, Sylvia Banda, took place in Lusaka, Zambia from June 8-10, alongside the 2011 AGOA Forum. First Lady of Zambia, Thandiwe Banda, served as leader of the conference.
The three-day conference focused on training on U.S. import requirements, access to finance, and advocacy. Speakers included representatives from the U.S. Government, Government of Zambia, and Zambian private sector. Secretary Clinton and Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer also spoke at the AWEP conference.
African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program
AWEP was established in 2010 under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), the premier professional exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. The women of the 2010 AWEP visitors program were accomplished entrepreneurs and leaders of small and medium–sized businesses in Africa. Many of their companies engage in exporting under the terms of AGOA, while others are working to increase their export capacity and establish business relationships with U.S. partners. All are leaders in their communities and many are active members of women’s business organizations in their countries.
Following the inaugural AWEP in 2010, follow-up activities continued in Africa. Some activities, hosted by Vital Voices and sponsored by ExxonMobil, included training opportunities and mentoring programs for the AWEP alumnae businesswomen. Another emphasis of follow-up programs was advocacy on eliminating discrimination against women in business and providing greater opportunities and support for Africa’s businesswomen.
This year, a new group of African businesswomen will travel to the United States from September 20 through October 7 for another AWEP IVLP. They will meet and network with U.S. policy makers, companies and industry associations, civil society groups, non-profit organizations advocating for women’s economic opportunities, multi-lateral development organizations, and business alliances.
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
AWEP aims to empower African women entrepreneurs to become part of their national and global business network by:
Increasing opportunities for women to use the AGOA program
Expanding opportunities for exports and U.S. investment in sub-Saharan Africa
Recognizing and expanding the roles women play as advocates for changes in laws, regulations, customs, and incentives that support women in businesses in their countries
Instituting a follow-up program so that participants, in their role as community leaders, can pass on what they learn
SECRETARY CLINTON: If I didn’t know any better, Minister Mutati, I’d say that you have a future in preaching. (Laughter.) My goodness, I thought he was going to take up a collection. (Laughter. Applause.)
But I certainly agree with the message. It is the Africa AGOA Act. It is meant to stimulate all of the activities that the minister was referencing. And it is, for me, a great pleasure once again to address the AGOA forum. I’m delighted that you’ve already heard from the leader of our trade efforts in the United States, Ambassador Ron Kirk. And from what I heard from the minister, Ron has already made every commitment that could be made. (Laughter. Applause.) So in the spirit of preaching, I’m really saying amen. (Laughter. Applause.)
It is wonderful to be here in Lusaka for this forum. I had such a good time when I went to Nairobi in 2009, and there was some dancing there, as I remember. In fact, everybody else looked great dancing, and then there’s me. (Laughter.) And apparently, it was all over Kenyan television, and I got all these emails saying, “Are you alright?” (Laughter.) I said, “More than.”
And then last year, we were very proud to host the forum in Washington and in Kansas City. And now here we are in Lusaka. Now, I can imagine that sometimes it feels like Kansas City and Lusaka might be worlds apart, but the whole goal of this forum is to shrink that distance, to create those networks and those relationships that are really at the root of the strong and growing relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Africa. So I thank all of you for being here because you are addressing the importance of what we can do together. It is about the future and it is about the hard work that will take us from today until tomorrow.
And I want to begin by celebrating just how far we have come in the last 11 years together. When my husband signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act into law in 2000, there were many who questioned, both in my country and across the continent, as to whether this would really amount to anything. What did this legislation really mean? There were those who looked at the statistics and saw that poverty had been declining for two decades in Africa. There were at least ten major conflicts underway on the continent. And in the previous 40 years, only four leaders had peacefully accepted defeat in democratic elections.
That seemed like a pretty tough climate in which to expand trade. But we believed then and we believe now that this was in our mutual interests, and a relationship based on mutual respect for what we could do together needed to be forged.
So look at what we’ve seen. In the past decade, Africa’s exports to the United States have quadrupled, from 1 to 4 billion, and that does not count oil. And we have seen large increases in the export of clothing and crafts from Tanzania, cut flowers from Kenya, high-end leather goods from Ethiopia. The growth in trade over the past decade is an accomplishment worth celebrating—both because of what it has meant for the people of Africa, but what it says even more so about the possibilities that lie ahead.
Today, Africa is in such a strong position to build on this progress. Yes, there are still many challenges in many places, but the region is undeniably more stable, more democratic, and more prosperous than a decade ago. (Applause.) And thanks to the hard work of the African people, harnessed to the formal economy – because I hasten to add that African men and women have always worked hard, but not always connected to the formal economy in ways that could be measured – but now, thanks to that hard work, we see productivity rising. We see consumer spending in the region expected to grow by almost $600 million, and GDP by 1 trillion, in less than a decade. And some observers are now even referring to Africa as the home of “emerging emerging markets.” And that means that the economies participating in AGOA are poised to benefit even more.
Yet we can’t ignore the signs that not all countries have yet made the most of AGOA. African countries still export only a handful of the 6,500 products that are eligible for duty-free shipping. And the most common export is still a barrel of oil.
So we have the potential to do more. And the question is: Will we? Will we on both sides? Will we in the United States hear the words of the minister and many of you, learn the lessons that we can from the last years, and reshape AGOA? And will African countries and business leaders and entrepreneurs take advantage of what is available?
As we look to renew this trade agreement, let me say clearly what you heard from Ron Kirk yesterday, that the Obama Administration will work with Congress on a seamless renewal of AGOA beyond 2015 – (applause) – and on a renewal of the important third-country fabric provisions in the coming months so that we also have a consistent regimen. We are willing to do what is necessary, but we all have to acknowledge what we must change together. And that’s what I wanted to talk with you today.
Getting AGOA right plays an important role in President Obama’s new approach to global development. Because despite the best of intentions, for too long, in too much of our development work, the United States was not focused on the kind of partnerships that should be at the root of development. All too often, we were doing programs that continued year after year, and we, frankly, did too much of the talking and not enough of the listening.
The United States is a generous nation, a fact that makes Americans justifiably proud. But we have to be reminded that the purpose of aid is not to make us feel good about ourselves. It is to help people in developing countries improve their own lives, to have that paycheck. And by improving prosperity, one improves stability, and that does have a benefit for the United States to have a world that is safer and more prosperous.
That is why in this Administration we have embarked on a new way of doing business. And we have also put business at the center of our economic development work. Our approach is based on partnership, not patronage. It is focused not on handouts but on the kind of economic growth that underlies long-term progress. Ultimately, it is aimed at helping developing countries chart their own futures and, frankly, end the need for aid at all. It starts from the belief that the most successful development efforts will someday put themselves out of business, because there will be so much economic activity, there will be such strong democratic institutions, that people will be able to generate their own opportunities.
Now, this is not just for us a matter of rhetoric. It is reflected in our actions. You can see it in our new program called Partnership for Growth. We’re taking all the lessons that have been learned from around the world and working with a small group of countries, including, in Africa, Tanzania and Ghana, and one in Latin American and one in Asia, to identify the biggest barriers to growth and find ways to overcome them. You can also see that in our Global Health Initiative, our Millennium Challenge compacts, and our Feed the Future programs. And many of the countries represented here are involved in one or more of those efforts.
In every case, we want what we do to be country-led and country-driven. We want to deliver real results that people can see are making a difference in their lives. We want to empower people themselves. I mean, it’s easy for a company from some other country to come in and get a contract and build something and then not have improved the skills of workers, not have created small business suppliers, not have left anything sustainable behind other than perhaps a physical structure. Africa does not lack in physical structures. Africa lacks in infrastructure. (Applause.) Africa lacks in connections between countries and Africa lacks in people willing to invest in African people in order to have a win-win situation.
So let us hold each other accountable for the success of AGOA in the future. And let’s begin by recognizing – and I think the minister was very right about this – increasing access to American markets is an important step, but market access alone is not enough. There are obstacles that stand in the way of the kind of transformative change that I think we should seek.
First, there is the basic challenge of raising awareness. Too often, businesses in the United States and other countries simply don’t think to look for potential partners in Africa. And many African firms have no way of knowing which foreign businesses might buy their products or their services. So we need to do more to connect so what you have to offer we can perhaps connect up with those who are seeking it.
Now, the United States supports a number of efforts to forge these connections, including international trade shows, bringing delegations of private sector investors to this forum, as we have again this year. And tomorrow, I will be privileged, along with Ambassador Kirk, to help launch the Zambian-American Chamber of Commerce. (Applause.) I have found that where we have chambers of commerce in countries, we see advocates for more trade. We see people who are reaching out all the time looking to make those deals and connections.
And we want particularly to focus on two groups of entrepreneurs whose potential is not being fully tapped: young people and women. (Applause.) This year, for the first time, a group of young entrepreneurs is joining us, and I want to welcome them and tell them how much we need their energy and their ideas. You really are the future. People say that all the time. It happens to be true. You have the biggest stake in our success here. What you do will largely determine Africa’s economic growth curve.
Now, more and more young people in Africa of working age are moving to urban areas, where they hope to find good jobs. Too many are finding only disappointment. By 2025, which is not that far away now, one in every four young people in the world will live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, that fact alone has profound and far-reaching implications for Africa’s future. We have been seeing what happens when young people feel their governments do not meet their needs. Across the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab Spring is being led by young people, young people in Tunisia, in Egypt, and across the region are demanding not just more democracy but more economic opportunity. They say, look, we’ve studied, I’m willing to work hard, and yet there’s nothing for me here.
Creating opportunity and protecting freedoms for young people deserves our urgent attention. I will be discussing this in greater detail when I am privileged to be the first Secretary of State ever to appear at the African Union on Monday. (Applause.)
Now, the logic for connecting more women to the global economy is just as compelling. I’ve said it all over the world: No country can thrive when half its people are left behind. And the evidence is so persuasive: Small and medium-sized enterprises run by women are major drivers of economic growth. And I had a conversation with an economist some years ago who heard me say this, and he said, “You know, I just – I don’t see women’s contribution to the economy. I said, “Have you been to a market? Have you looked at fields being tilled? Have you watched children being raised? Women are holding up half the economy already. Let’s give them the opportunities to bring along all the rest of us with their hard work and their success.” (Applause.) Because when a woman prospers, she re-invests those earnings in her family, and the positive ripple effects cross an entire community.
And yet let’s be very honest. In too many places, it is still too difficult for a woman to start a business. Cultural traditions may discourage her from handling money or managing employees. Complex regulations may make it hard for her to buy land or keep land or get a loan. She has to balance the needs of her own family and somehow overcome all of these barriers. Now, lest you think this is only about Africa in 2011, I well recall what it was like in my own country not to long ago. Women couldn’t get loans. Women couldn’t get credit. I remember when I was a practicing lawyer and my husband was the attorney general of our state of Arkansas, I was making roughly three times the money he was making in the 1970s. I could not get a credit card in my own name. (Laughter.) Now, I will not mention the company that refused to give me a credit card in my own name, but I will hasten to add I’ve never done business with them since. (Laughter.)
So this is a problem that countries have had to face over the last 50 years, and the barriers have slowly but surely come down, either because governments passed new laws or courts said according to our constitution these barriers are not constitutional and they must disappear. Political action created that. But mostly, it’s because people woke up and said oh my gosh, we’re losing business and we’re losing economic growth, and we’d better make sure that women have the same opportunities to contribute to the growth of Africa that men do.
Now, at the State Department, we have made it a priority to help women break down barriers. And among our efforts, we are helping women entrepreneurs connect with potential partners. And we recently sponsored the first-ever delegation of American businesswomen from the technology industry to Liberia and Sierra Leone. That visit led to the creation of a new business incubator in Sierra Leone focused especially on women.
And last August, on the margins of our meeting in Washington, we kicked off the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, AWEP. And in just a few months, these remarkable women have already made lasting connections with American companies. They’ve begun trading with each other, and they’ve devised new ways of promoting their businesses. I just met some of them and saw some of the products that they are producing. And today, I am very happy to announce that the United States will contribute $2 million this year and next so they can continue their work. And thank you to Zambia for hosting them as well. (Applause.)
We will be inviting leading businesswomen from across the continent to attend leadership programs in the United States this fall and next summer, because we want to make sure they have the tools and the skills that they need, and then we will connect buyers and sellers, which is exactly what AGOA is intended to do.
But even when African companies make connections with American businesses, they may not yet have the capacity to make and ship products that are competitive in the U.S. market. So this is a second barrier. We need to get more out of AGOA by making sure we break down those obstacles.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago, a large American home-furnishing company placed a trial order of 5,000 baskets from a producer in West Africa. They wanted to see if he could deliver what they needed, and if he could, they might buy more. The producer was delighted to have the order, but he had never filled an order of more than 500 baskets.
Now, he put in 24/7 days, he hired extra workers, and he was able to deliver the goods. But when the American company placed their next order, they didn’t call him. Why? They called one of his competitors in Vietnam. Why? Because the Government of Vietnam offers basket makers low-interest loans and makes sure the supply chain for straw moves smoothly. The competitor, therefore, with the subsidies, with the supply chain support, could produce baskets for about half the cost.
So it wasn’t that the Vietnamese company worked harder. It was that their government helped pave the way for their success. (Applause.) It should not be that way. And if we are going to reach our goals, it can’t be that way. African entrepreneurs with the talent and the drive deserve the resources they need to compete for the highest-paying customers, whether they’re next door, in the United States, or anywhere else in the world.
That’s why the three regional trade hubs that USAID sponsors do much more than connect African and American businesses. They support African entrepreneurs in writing business plans, raising capital, increasing their productivity, improving their production processes so they can meet the export standards set by governments and companies around the world.
In fact, the staff at our regional hub in West Africa are helping that basket maker write a new ending to his story. With their support, he and his fellow producers are now working together to buy straw in larger quantities, which brings the cost down. That’s supply and demand. And they are exploring low-interest loans from nongovernmental organizations, which will help them level the playing field with their competitors.
But let me say I hope someday their own government will offer them these same opportunities. (Applause.) Let’s look at what is working in other countries like Vietnam. And it is not the work ethic. Do the Vietnamese people work hard? Yes, they do. Do African people work hard? Yes, they do. And as the minister said, yes you can. There is no reason not to be competitive. (Applause.)
So when we raise awareness and we increase capacity, we can produce amazing results. Just ask Caroline Sack Kendem, who runs Ken Atlantic, a clothing manufacturer in Cameroon. She employs 98 people—mostly women. And last month, thanks to the connections that she made through our networking program hub, as well as the training and support that she received from that USAID trade hub, she landed a major new client and signed a $2 million contract to make tens of thousands of knitted shirts. And soon, she won’t have 98 employees. She’ll have 200.
And we want to be able to tell far more success stories like this. That’s why Ambassador Kirk announced a new trade capacity building initiative that will provide up to $120 million over four years to intensify and focus the work of our African trade hubs.
But let’s acknowledge a hard truth. A business is only as successful as the environment in which it operates. A shipping company cannot thrive if it is overwhelmed by government regulations and drowning in paperwork. Buyers and sellers can’t do business if they are harassed by corrupt officials. A strong economy requires a supportive business climate that empowers every entrepreneur.
And we do need to confront poor infrastructure—roads, ports, and electric grids that drive up the cost of doing business in Africa. We are investing with our partners to improve infrastructure in places where it’s a bottleneck for trade. For example, with support from our Millennium Challenge Corporation, whose president, Daniel Yohannes, is here with us, Tanzania recently began upgrading 430 kilometers of road and installing nearly 1,600 kilometers of new power lines.
And let’s have a very frank conversation about corruption. It takes such a real toll on everyone. Every bribe paid to a customs official represents a hidden tax on the cost of doing business and a drag on economic growth. I am elevating in the State Department corruption as a major focus of our diplomatic efforts. And we are establishing an innovation fund to create incentives and boost political support for anti-corruption efforts. The United States now requires oil, gas, and mining companies that raise capital in our markets to disclose the royalties they pay to foreign governments, which will help ensure that Africa’s natural wealth benefits the people of Africa rather than corrupt officials. (Applause.)
And another challenge is armed conflict, which—in addition to its tremendous human toll— undermines the business environment by making it more expensive and more dangerous for goods and workers to cross borders. We work on this every single day and we will continue to do so because working with our African partners to resolve and prevent conflict is good for business.
And because healthy and productive people form the foundation of any thriving economy, we continue to join with partners to fight HIV/AIDS, reduce maternal mortality, and end hunger and malnutrition.
This is a wide-ranging agenda for strengthening the business environment in the long run. And all of these actions require commitment from all of us.
But finally, I want to stress again a point that the minister made that I addressed in 2009 and 2010, and that is the low level of economic cooperation, integration, and trade among African nations. I am very pleased that this had a prominent place on the agenda this year.
The benefits of economic integration are well known. It reduces food insecurity by allowing agricultural goods to move efficiently to the places where they’re needed. It gives landlocked countries new access to ports and harbors. And it allows African companies to tap into a very promising new market—their own.
In the United States, again, we often saw parts of cities or rural areas where our poor people lived really deprived of investment. And then somebody got smart and said these folks may be poor, but they still spend money, they just don’t spend it in their own communities. And we began trying to break down the domestic barriers that we had.
Here in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is less trade between and among the countries than in any other region in the world. Why is that? Well, some of it is because we need to improve infrastructure, but the most important limiting factor is not roads or airports. It’s people. Trade officials are under pressure to protect their own home-grown industries. Government leaders of smaller countries are concerned that larger countries will gain too much influence. Business owners worry about losing out to competitors across the border.
Now, these are not problems are not unique to Africa, but they have a disproportionate impact on Africa. So ultimately, it is up to the leaders of this region to decide if you want economic integration. It does mean you have to take on entrenched interests and respond to concerns about new competition, while making the case over and over again as to why the people in your country will benefit from expanded trade. I know this is difficult. Although I am out of politics now, I understand how hard it is to tell a longtime supporter something he doesn’t want to hear. But sometimes it is the right and important thing to do.
This week’s summit in South Africa to discuss a tripartite free trade agreement that would cover 34 countries is a very important step toward deeper integration. So is the East Africa Community’s common market protocol, which is making it easier for goods and workers to move among the five member nations. The United States will support the East Africa Community in its efforts to achieve a common market. We are still in the early stages of planning, but if our approach is successful, we will look to replicate in every regional economic community in Africa that is as committed to integration.
So the EAC and the tripartite talks have created real momentum for integration. And I urge you to make the most of this momentum—continue it and accelerate it, because expanding trade within Africa is one of the best ways to promote growth, to put more paychecks into more pockets.
Now, in all the areas I’ve discussed today, we do face hard choices. And we have to decide: Do we foster more connections and give them the tools that people need to compete globally, or not? Will we fight corruption and improve the business environment, or not? Will we speed up regional integration, or not? And will we hold ourselves accountable for delivering results, or not?
When the United States Congress considers renewing AGOA, they will be asking tough questions like these, and I want us to be ready with answers. I believe in Africa’s future. I believe with all my heart that the best days are ahead. But it doesn’t happen by hoping for it or wishing for it, but only by rolling up our sleeves and working for it.
So let’s move together into that future. And as we do, let’s remember the people whose talents and energy we are trying to unlock: the farmer in Tanzania, the basket maker in West Africa, the clothing manufacturer in Cameroon, the technology entrepreneur in Zambia. Because our work together is not about us; it is about the people who get up every day trying to make their lives better. And it is particularly about the young people who, given technology, expect so much more of us.
I am committed to doing everything I can to help every man and woman, every boy and girl, live up to his or her God -given potential. And I want to work with you to make sure that we have real results to be able to demonstrate.
It is now my pleasure to declare that this session of the AGOA Forum is closed. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you. Thank you very much. I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to welcome you to Zambia and your delegation and to tell you how happy we are that you were able to come to the AGOA forum in our country and that we’re able to receive you here, the guest of honor, and all the Americans who have come here to participate with the African commonwealth in this forum.
With regard to our country, Zambia, I think that the (inaudible). We hope that you will come here some more times. And I’m sure that the Zambian people are very happy to see you in person. Our country is going through a very exciting period in terms of the economy. We believe that as a result of our mining activities, our agricultural activities, our tourism, for our country’s (inaudible) transformation. And, yes, so happy that you came. As (inaudible) American brothers and sisters so we can work together, transform our country.
I’d like also to remind you, it is a very special year for Zambia. When you say 2011, every Zambian knows what you are about to talk about, namely that this is our election year. And I can assure your Excellency and all your colleagues that we’re very proud and impressed that, since 1964, when we had our independence, to date we have had good and fair and free and transparent elections. Of course, the country has grown, for the election has moved from three million plus in 1964 to 13 million now. The economy itself has grown, but, of course, the problems have increased.
The opposition parties also have increased. We have many of our countrymen challenging us in this election, as it should be. It is their right and good for the country that we should have open (inaudible), and that’s when we start showing excellence, in that real elections will be held within the next few months and that they will be transparent, that we will work with all our collaborating partners, including the United States, to ensure that these elections are free and fair and transparent and held in a peaceful atmosphere.
We will have the little hiccups; when we (inaudible) violence. I personally made sure that I went to court to challenge the results of one these elections where the most violence was observed. This is the – in the northwestern province. And my reason for going to court was in order that the courts should pronounce themselves, which they did, against violence. It doesn’t serve anybody any good, and the Zambians should know better. We are surrounded by some of our less fortunate brothers and sisters who have violence, and for now we are struggling to win back on their dreams. So we do need more peaceful – and I want to assure your Excellency we are going to continue to work with you and all other countries to ensure peace on our continent.
So if I may be allowed to pause here so that you can ask questions later.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the warm welcome to Zambia. And I also want to acknowledge Mrs. Banda, who was with me earlier as we celebrated the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, which Zambia has agreed to host. We just attended the closing ceremony of the AGOA forum, and I want to congratulate you, Mr. President, and your government, for hosting such a successful conference. Ambassador Ron Kirk, our trade representative, has told me, and in our meeting with you repeated, what he said about how successfully organized and executed this conference was. I’m looking forward also tomorrow to helping launch the Zambia-U.S. Chamber of Commerce that will help to create more jobs in both of our countries.
We’ve always valued our partnership with you, globally and regionally, as well as bilaterally. Zambia has joined the United States and the international community in many principled stands in support of human dignity, freedom of speech and religion, and the fight against nuclear proliferation. I particularly want to thank Zambia for joining in the international community’s strong stance on behalf of the rights of the people of Syria and Iran at the Human Rights Council.
The United States also values your role as a regional leader. Since your independence, Zambia has been a bulwark for southern Africa, and you have evolved into a strong advocate for peace, stability, and tolerance across the region. Thank you for hosting thousands, hundreds of thousands of refugees, including many Angolans who seek refuge and peace inside your country. Thank you for supporting calls to stop state-sponsored violence, including in Zimbabwe. Thank you for supporting a peaceful transition in Madagascar.
When the people of Zambia adopted multi-party democracy in 1991, you sent a powerful message to Africa and the world: Political leaders are answerable and accountable to their people, not the other way around. Candidates may express passionate differences in campaigns, but then must accept the people’s vote and join together for the sake of the country. And as Zambia approaches another national election, once again, you have the chance to set a model for the rest of the world.
I see many positive (inaudible) on Zambia’s resilient state and confidence in your democratic process. As the president has just said, in our meeting we discussed the importance of conducting the upcoming national election peacefully, transparently, fairly, and freely, in a manner that reflects the will of the Zambian people. The president has invited both international and local observers to monitor the election, and during his campaign, he has spoken out repeatedly against election-related violence. That is an important message for all Zambian citizens, including the one million young people voting for the first time. I congratulate Zambia on registering more than 82 percent of your eligible voters.
Too often the news is dominated by what’s wrong with Africa, not about what’s right. Zambia has shown it is on the right path to tackle its challenges. We have achieved important results together through our close collaboration on health issues, particularly in the fight against HIV and AIDS. And yesterday, the United States joined with other global leaders in calling for action towards eliminating pediatric HIV by 2015. We are getting close to the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zambia, and we see people living with this disease now increasingly productive lives.
There is a lot of work ahead of us. This is a country that is moving ahead. And, Mr. President, the United States is fully committed to supporting Zambia’s progress in the years to come.
Thank you (inaudible).
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Our first question (inaudible).
QUESTION: Madam Secretary and Mr. President, is the U.S. trade approach outlined today going to be sufficient to counter growing Chinese influence in Africa? And Madam Secretary, if I may, if you care to address the report that you’re considering a move to the World Bank? And if I can squeeze another one in, you spoke to Secretary Gates’ comments that NATO is irrelevant unless the U.S. contributes more? And thanks.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Very smart. And to repeat my question just a little slower, the question about Chinese investment stuff.
QUESTION: Yes. The U.S. today outlined the trade approach for Africa, and my question was whether it was going to be enough to counter Chinese influence in the continent?
PRESIDENT BANDA: You mean the involvement of the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: They talk so fast, Mr. President, they get three questions in.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Yeah, yeah, Hillary. (Inaudible)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’d be happy to if you want me to.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Yeah. (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me also begin by answering the question on China, and then I’ll go to the World Bank and then end with Secretary Gates.
China’s presence in Africa reflects the reality that it has important and growing interests here on the continent, including access to resources and markets, as well as developing closer diplomatic ties. The United States does not see the Chinese interest as inherently incompatible with our own interest. I told President Obama, and I have made clear on numerous occasions, we do not see China’s rise as a zero-sum game. We hope that it will become successful in its own economic efforts on behalf of the Chinese people, and that it will assume a greater and more responsible role in addressing global challenges. Now, we are, however, concerned that as China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.
We want to work more closely with China and other countries to make sure that, when we are engaged with Africa, we are doing it in a sustainable manner that will benefit the nations and people of Africa. And therefore, we have begun a dialogue with China about its activities in Africa. We’ve instructed our missions in Africa to reach out to Chinese colleagues in order to explore potential areas of cooperation and assess China’s overall role in their respective countries.
Now secondly, with respect to the World Bank, I have had no discussions with anyone. I have evidenced no interest to anyone. I do not have any interest and am not pursuing that position. It’s a very important institution, and obviously we want to see the World Bank well-led. We work closely with the World Bank, but I am absolutely dedicated to my service as Secretary of State. We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are doing all we can to implement the vision of our improved and growing relationships around the world, including right here in Africa, on behalf of our country.
Finally, Secretary Gates’s recent remarks underscored how this alliance, the greatest alliance in history, cannot get complacent. We all have to step up and share the burdens that we face in responding to 21st century threats, and many members are doing just that. Every country in the alliance – including, of course, our own – is under financial pressure. We are being asked to cut spending on national security at a time when we are living in an increasingly unpredictable world. And I fully agree with Secretary Gates that we all bear a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our citizens, and that requires that we maintain an adequate investment in defense, and that often we have to bolster our investments in security to face these new threats. Now, as the events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown, we cannot predict where threats will occur and we have to be ready, willing, and able to work together.
But Secretary Gates also underscored his personal commitment, over the course of a very long and distinguished career, to NATO. And as he said, through the challenges that NATO has faced, we have managed to get the big things right time and time again. We’ve always come together to make the tough decisions. I don’t think that’s going to change. So we are confident but we are not complacent.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you. Can I just say something about the Chinese? The – our country has been in a close relationship with China from those early years before our independence. So we got our independence in 1964 and we worked closely with the Chinese, as indeed with any other country that’s supported our desire to be independent. (Inaudible) African countries. And earlier on, after our independence, (inaudible) build another route in the 1940’s. So one of the problems that we are facing is the result of the routes to the south. At that time, as we all know, there were problems in South Africa, but there are problems and programs of UBI and Zimbabwe and so on. And so we have always worked with the Chinese.
And then during the recent financial crisis in the world, we were fortunate at the time that the Chinese were still able to continue their appetite for what we were producing here in Kopa. And I think that the whole world benefited from that and we were able to emerge from the financial crisis in the world sooner than later.
I agree with Secretary Clinton that those who wish to come and work with us and invest in our country, and I want to take this opportunity to actually invite everyone to come, and particularly the United States of America, because I know you have the know-how, you have the ability, especially in agriculture, and you have the excess money to take holidays of tourism and in many other places, that Zambia will benefit a great deal. And it’s true that our governments are very sensitive about their people. We are very sensitive here in Zambia about employment for our people, how they are treated when they are working in your various institutions. So I agree with Secretary Clinton, but those who come here to do business must respect our laws and must look out for our people in a different manner. And China is managing a very strong economy, and we know that they have done business with everybody. And the United States, we appreciate their being this country that we don’t exempt them from making sure that they follow the laws of our country. Thank you.
QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Angela Chishimba from Zambia Daily Now. And just please – and I would like to find out how you rate Zambia’s economic performance. And I would also like to find out what assistance you are going to give in terms of skill transfer and capacity building to our Zambian entrepreneurs who are finding it difficult to add value to their goods for export to the U.S. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent questions. One of the goals of the AGOA conference this year was to look at ways that the United States could better assist entrepreneurs across the continent, but in particular in Zambia as the host of this very successful conference. At the conference, Ambassador Kirk announced that the United States will be investing significant dollars – I think up to $120 million – to try to assist over the next four years the acquisition of skills, the ability to do business plans, understand how to get into markets, so that we are not just coming and saying we’d like to do business or we’re going to just bring Americans here to do business. We want to stimulate more Zambian business.
I also very much appreciate that Zambia has agreed to host the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, because we have credible evidence that the more women are able to start and (inaudible) businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises, the more a country will actually prosper economically.
And finally, Zambia is a country that we are focusing on in our Feed the Future program, which is an effort to cooperate jointly between the United States and Zambia on improving agricultural productivity, creating more value-added products that can be not only exported to the United States but exported within Africa and Asia and everywhere else. So we’re quite committed to working with you.
And then finally, tomorrow, I will have the great honor of transferring a pediatric AIDS hospital to the Government of Zambia. We have worked for a number of years in Zambia, and we have seen tremendous progress in the skills of the Zambian health professionals. As I said, we have practically eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV. That is because we, again, have partnered with you. So the United States intends to remain – in fact, we hope even become a better partner in helping to build the economy of Zambia.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: One more question from Voice of America, and I hope (inaudible). (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BANDA: That’s pretty good. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, have you received any assurances from the Chadian foreign ministry these evening that President Deby supports the decisions of the Contact Group on Libya? And are you asking the Government in N’Djamena to do anything specifically toward those ends?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Another important question. Let me begin by saying that I met with the foreign minister from Chad primarily to talk about Sudan because he had just come from meeting with the leaders of both the North and the South as an effort by President Deby to mediate the conflict. We are quite concerned at the outbreak of violence along the border, not just in Abyei, but other places in Sudan. And we are conscious that the clock is ticking on Southern Sudan’s independence. So in working with the African Union, with Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, whom I will see in a few days, with Thabo Mbeki, the envoy, we’ve encouraged the Chadian initiative. We think that it could be quite value-added.
In addition, with respect to Libya, the Chadian Government does not support Qadhafi. They have made that very clear. They want to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict. We are very supportive of their efforts to reach out to the TNC, which they have been doing – the Transitional National Council – which they have been doing in a more sustained way in recent days. So again, we think – Chad has its own difficult history with Libya because Qadhafi tried to seize part of the territory some years back. They are cautious about the outcome and wanting to see it move toward a point of resolution, and we think, again, they can be valuable in sending a clear message that Qadhafi must go.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Speak up just a little bit.
PRESIDENT BANDA: A little bit more.
QUESTION: Good evening.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Perfect.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible), and I write for (inaudible) television. I would like to draw your attention to the issue of climate change and how the U.S. Government (inaudible) the developed countries, what practical assistance developing countries like Zambia (inaudible). How do you look at the possible achievements or better progress in as far as (inaudible) 2015, very close by. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Again, I appreciate both questions. The president and I discussed climate change, the importance of addressing climate change here in Africa. As you know, the next conference will be held in Durban, South Africa. We think that there was progress made in Cancun last year that we want to see built on, and part of that progress was the establishment of a Green Fund that would channel financial assistance to countries that were unable to adapt and deal with the effects of climate change or mitigate against potential effects. We’re very hopeful that the Green Fund will be firmly set up by Durban or as part of the Durban agenda. The United States is committed to working through that fund. And we have also been working closely with the African representatives with respect to the necessary support that Africa deserves in dealing with climate change.
So I think you’ll see continuing efforts to build on the progress in South Africa, but we all have much more to do. We are not doing enough, and this is one of President Obama’s major points about why we need to move towards clean renewable energy, why we need to all look at how we can adopt agricultural practices and other behaviors that will lessen the impact of climate change. So the world has to do more, and we stand ready through our aid programs to assist on that.
Your second question – can you remind me?
MODERATOR: She has meant to ask two questions in one. (Laughter.) They are very good.
QUESTION: Well, I wanted to get you on that (inaudible) –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yes. The –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve made progress, but not enough. At the 2010 United Nations General Assembly, we reviewed the progress that has been made, but I certainly am not satisfied. I don’t think anyone should be satisfied. We’ve made progress in certain statistical areas, but we have not crossed the threshold on education or healthcare the way that we need to. So I think as we move toward 2015, a lot of the lessons that we tried to analyze in 2010 need to be applied. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve reorganized a number of our aid programs, our health programs, our food and agriculture programs. We’re trying to really zero in on results. We want to see results. So we want to set targets for decreasing maternal mortality and infant mortality, deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, so we can set some standards and push towards those Millennium Goals. But the United States and this Administration remain very committed.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Just for the background of the press, 34 years ago, the president of Zambia was the minister of foreign affairs, and he had the privilege of hosting dinner for the visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Henry Kissinger. Today, he is the president of Zambia and has another opportunity to host a U.S. Secretary State.
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) From 1976 to 2011. (Laughter.) Thank you.