Bush Supports "Responsible Debt Relief" for African Nations

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 30, 2001 (Zenit.org).- President George W. Bush said the United States will support «responsible debt relief» for heavily indebted African nations that use the funds for such infrastructure improvements as education and health care, the Washington Times reported.

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Speaking at the African Growth and Opportunity Act forum at the State Department on Monday, Bush also thanked countries supporting the U.S.-led campaign against terror and urged them to ratify a 1999 convention that would provide new tools for the fight.

Bush announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corp. would provide $200 million to promote more U.S. investment in sub-Saharan Africa by giving firms access to loans, guarantees and political risk insurance.

He said U.S. trade officials will set up a regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa, to help governments and businesses in easing trade laws to improve the investment climate in Africa, and set up a $15 million trade-development program to help African businesses gain access to the global market.
<br> A summit of African leaders in Dakar, Senegal, on Oct. 20 issued a declaration against terrorism that stopped short of embracing the Algiers Convention, adopted in 1999 in response to the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a year earlier.

The Algiers Convention has been signed by 36 of Africa´s 53 governments, but only three have ratified it. Bush said its ratification is crucial because it would give African nations «additional judicial, diplomatic and financial tools to root out terrorism.»

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