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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 13, 1998


Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 4283, the "Africa: Seeds of Hope Act of 1998." This Act, which passed the Congress with broad bipartisan support, reaffirms the importance of helping Africans generate the food and income necessary to feed themselves. It is an important component of my Administration's efforts to expand our partnership with Africa and complements our efforts to expand trade and investment through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which I hope will be passed by the next Congress.

During my trip to Africa last March, I pledged our continuing support to help reform-minded Africans help themselves. In the area of hunger and malnutrition, I announced the 1998 commencement of the Africa Food Security Initiative, a 10-year effort implemented through the U.S. Agency for International Development to help improve agricultural productivity, incomes, and nutrition for the rural poor.

The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act is another step in fulfilling that commitment and it demonstrates that both the Administration and the Congress are united in pursuit of a brighter future for the people of Africa.

Enactment of this bill comes at a critical time for Africa. At the 1996 World Food Summit, the United States pledged to help meet the goal of reducing malnutrition by half by the year 2015. Despite some recent progress, the percentage of malnourished people in Africa is the highest of any region in the world and U.S. help is greatly needed.

In signing H.R. 4283, I applaud the efforts that many African nations are making to improve the lives of their people. They are strengthening democracy and good governance, reforming economic policies to promote broad-based growth, and attacking diseases such as HIV/AIDS. They are doing a better job of educating their children, especially girls, and adopting improved farming practices. We need to do much more, however, to ensure that Africa and its rural poor are not left behind as we enter the next century. As demonstrated by the passage of the Africa: Seeds of Hope Act, the United States remains ready to do its share.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              November 13, 1998.

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