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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Kapala, Uganda)
For Immediate Release                                     March 24, 1998


Investing in the Future of Africa's Children

President Clinton announced a series of initiatives designed to underscore the new US-African partnerships, particularly the desire of African nations to invest in a better and healthier future for its children. Included in today's announcement are three new initiatives intended to improve educational standards and access to technology, ensure adequate food and agricultural production for proper nutritional balance, and fight deadly infectious diseases that claim the lives of too many African children.

Promoting Better Education

The Education for Development and Democracy Initiative seeks to boost African integration into the global community by improving the quality of, and technology for, education in Africa. The President's announcement calls for approximately $120 million in FY'98 and '99 funding and is centered around three principal strategies: community resource centers, public-private partnerships, and educating and empowering girls. Key components include:

Primary and Secondary Education

      Pilot schools will be selected as community resource centers 
     to provide educational materials and serve as bases to improve 
     local teachers preparation and training for out-of-school youth.  
     Centers will provide computers with access to the Internet, 
     CD-ROM resources, better educational material, in-teacher 
     training and desktop publishing capability.  Peace Corps 
     volunteers will provide staffing and continuity at the centers.

      School-to-school partnerships between the United States and 
     Africa and among African schools will be promoted through access 
     to computer technology and from exchanges.  Education Initiative 
     efforts will be coordinated and integrated with Leland and GLOBE 
     and other efforts in this area.

      Improving girl's education through leadership identification 
     and scholarships, raising community awareness and support for 
     educating girls, strengthening school nutrition and lunch 
     programs and monitoring by older girls and women.

Higher Education

      U.S.-African linkages at the university-to-university level 
     will be built through assistance with curriculum development 
     aimed at training in labor-market relations, business, health, 
     science, math, technology and engineering studies.  In addition, 
     there will be a strong focus on improving teacher training, 
     linking universities and their local communities, appropriate 
     skills training, and encouraging stronger community college 

Professional Training and Civil Education

The education initiative will fund partnerships between U.S. and African government institutions and civil society organizations. The exchanges are designed to better promote understanding, cooperation and integration of public-private efforts through NGOs, independent media, rule of law programs, and health and science organizations. Exchanges will be supplemented by in-country training projects to enhance policy and operational skills and promote networking across the political and civil society spectrum.

Ensuring Better Nutrition

A key part of the President's announcement today is ensuring that while we improve the educational standards of Africa's children we also ensure adequate and proper nourishment and provide assistance to enhance agricultural production.

Current food security trends project that by the year 2020, 25 percent of Africa's children will suffer from malnutrition, already the cause of over a third of deaths of children under the age of five in Africa.

The Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI) is designed to assist African nations to strengthen and protect agriculture and food security in a number of key areas, including:

      ensuring healthy and alternative crop production;
      better market efficiency and distribution of existing crops;
      increased trade and investment in agricultural industries;
      attacking crop diseases;
      and increasing access to modern agricultural technology 
      systems to assist with increased crop production and 

     The pilot budget for the first two years of the initiative will 

be $61million, which compliments USAID?s current investments in these efforts. Funds will be channeled to the appropriate government and private sector organizations.

Promoting Stronger Health Care

The third element of the President's program of investing in the future of Africa's children is combating the infectious diseases that claim so many young lives.

To help combat malaria, which accounts for 1.5 - 2.5 million deaths per year, the President announces an additional $1 million grant to the National Institutes of Health in order to provide further assistance to the Multilateral Initiative on malaria (MIM). 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 an ongoing FY?98 $16 million Infectious Disease Initiative for Africa that focuses on surveillance, response, prevention, and building local resistance capacity for infectious diseases throughout the continent.