[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)] [March 11, 1998] [Pages 362-363] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Statement on House of Representatives Action on Legislation To Promote African Growth and Opportunity March 11, 1998 In this year's State of the Union Address, I asked Congress to support an initiative to strengthen economic ties to Africa. Today, I am pleased that Congress has taken an important step forward on legislation that will open a new era of U.S.-African trade and investment relations. The strong bipartisan vote in the House in support of the ``African Growth and Opportunity Act'' offers the way for a brighter future for Africa. The United States has a vital stake in a stable, prosperous Africa. Later this month, when I travel to Africa, I will deliver the message that the United States stands ready to be a partner in Africa's prosperity. A majority of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries have adopted market-oriented economic and political reforms in the past [[Page 363]] seven years. A stronger, stable, prosperous Africa will be a better economic partner, a better partner for security and peace, and a better partner in the fight against the new transnational threats of drug trafficking, crime, terrorism, the spread of disease and environmental degradation. This bill--by significantly broadening market access, spurring growth in Africa, and helping the poorest nations eliminate or reduce their bilateral debt--would help African nations that are committed to undertake difficult economic reforms to build better lives for their people. We have an historic opportunity to support the renaissance in Africa. I want to commend Speaker Gingrich, Chairman Archer, Congressman Rangel, Congressman McDermott, Congressman Crane, Chairman Gilman, Congressman Hamilton, Congressman Payne, Congresswoman McKinney, Congressman Jefferson, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, Congresswoman Waters, Congressman Royce, Congressman Menendez, and all those who have devoted themselves to helping that transformation. I look forward to working with the Senate to enact this landmark legislation as quickly as possible.