• The Africa Food Security Initiative will assist African nations in strengthening agriculture and food security in a number of key areas, including production of healthy and alternative crops, better market efficiency and distribution of existing crops, increased trade and investment in agricultural industries, attacking crop diseases, and increasing access to agricultural technology systems to assist with increased crop production and distribution. Our pilot budget for the first two years of the initiative will be $61 million, which complements USAID’s current investments in these efforts.
• The third initiative is combating the infectious diseases that claim many young lives. To help combat malaria, we will provide an additional $1 million grant to provide further assistance to the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria. The grant will focus on continuing educational seminars and will support the Regional Malaria Lab in Mali to reinforce its position as a regional center of excellence in Africa. This effort will complement our ongoing Infectious Disease Initiative for Africa that focuses on surveillance, response, prevention and building local resistance to infectious diseases.
In Africa as elsewhere, democracies have proved more peaceful, stable and reliable partners with which we can work and are more likely to pursue sound economic policies. We will continue to work to sustain the important progress Africans have achieved to date and to broaden the growing circle of African democracies.
Restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Nigeria has long been one of our major objectives in Africa. In June 1998, President Clinton reaffirmed to Nigeria’s new leadership the friendship of the United States for the people of Nigeria and underscored our desire for improved bilateral relations in the context of Nigeria taking swift and significant steps toward a successful transition to a democratically elected civilian government that respects the human rights of its citizens. The release of some political prisoners by the Nigerian government is an encouraging sign, but much more needs to be done and the United States will continue to press for a credible transition to a democratic, civilian government.
Through President Clinton’s $30 million Great Lakes Justice Initiative, the United States will work with both the people and governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi to support judicial systems which are impartial, credible, effective and inclusive. This initiative seeks to strengthen judicial bodies, such as relevant Ministries of Justice and Interior; improve the functioning of court systems, prosecutors, police and prison systems; work with national officials on specific problem areas such as creation of civilian police forces and legal assistance programs; support training programs for police and judiciary officials; develop improved court administration systems; provide human rights training for military personnel and support prosecution of abuses perpetrated by military personnel; demobilize irregular elements of standing armies and reintegrate them into society and programs; and demobilize child soldiers.
In addition, we will work with our allies to find an effective formula for promoting stability, democracy and respect for human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo so that it and a democratic Nigeria can become the regional centers for economic growth, and democratic empowerment that they can and should be. In order to help post-apartheid South Africa achieve its economic, political, democratic and security goals for all its citizens, we will continue to provide substantial bilateral assistance, vigorously promote U.S. trade and investment, and pursue close cooperation and support for our mutual interests and goals through the versatile Binational Commission chaired by the Vice Presidents of each country.
Ultimately, the prosperity and security of Africa depends on extensive political and economic reform, and it is in the U.S. interest to support and promote such reforms.
Today, on the brink of the twenty-first century, we are building new frameworks, partnerships and institutions—and adapting existing ones—to strengthen America’s security and prosperity. We are working to construct new cooperative security arrangements, rid the world of weapons that target whole populations, build a truly global economy, and promote democratic values and economic reform. Because diplomatic and military responses alone may not deter threats to our national security from non-state actors such as criminals and terrorist groups, we must promote increased cooperation among law enforcement officials and improved methods for dealing with international crime and terrorism. Ours is a moment of historic opportunity to create a safer, more prosperous tomorrow—to make a difference in the lives of our citizens.
This promising state of affairs did not just happen, and there is no guarantee that it will endure. The contemporary era was forged by steadfast American leadership over the last half century—through efforts such as the Marshall Plan, NATO, the United Nations and the World Bank. The clear dangers of the past made the need for national security commitments and expenditures obvious to the American people. Today, the task of mobilizing public support for national security priorities is more complicated. The complex array of unique dangers, opportunities and responsibilities outlined in this strategy are not always readily apparent as we go about our daily lives focused on immediate concerns. Yet, in a more integrated and interdependent world, we must remain actively engaged in world affairs to successfully advance our national interests. To be secure and prosperous, America must continue to lead.
Our international leadership focuses on President Clinton’s strategic priorities: to foster regional efforts led by the community of democratic nations to promote peace and prosperity in key regions of the world, to create more jobs and opportunities for Americans through a more open and competitive trading system that also benefits others around the world, to increase cooperation in confronting new security threats that defy borders and unilateral solutions, and to strengthen the intelligence, military, diplomatic and law enforcement tools necessary to meet these challenges. Our international leadership is ultimately founded upon the power of our democratic ideals and values. The spread of democracy supports American values and enhances our security and prosperity. The United States will continue to support the trend toward democracy and free markets by remaining actively engaged in the world.
Our engagement abroad requires the active, sustained support of the American people and the bipartisan support of the U.S. Congress. This Administration remains committed to explaining our security interests, objectives and priorities to the nation and seeking the broadest possible public and congressional support for our security programs and investments. We will continue to exercise our leadership in the world in a manner that reflects our national values and protects the security of this great nation.