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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Sea Island, Georgia)
For Immediate Release
June 9, 2004

Fact Sheet: Applying the Power of Entrepreneurship to the Eradication of Poverty

Presidential Action

President Bush secured G-8 Leaders' agreement on an innovative action plan to apply the power of entrepreneurship and the private sector to the challenge of poverty alleviation.

Private Sector-Led Development: President Bush's development policies, such as the Millennium Challenge Account initiative, emphasize promoting economic freedom and entrepreneurship as key drivers of job creation and poverty reduction. A recent U.N. report, "Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor," highlights the private sector's role as "the source of growth, jobs, and opportunities for the poor."

G-8 Action: President Bush led the G-8 today in committing to a U.S.-driven action plan on "Applying the Power of Entrepreneurship to the Eradication of Poverty." Specifically, the G-8 agreed to:

-- Facilitate and lower the cost of remittances, the money sent by immigrants abroad to their families and friends back home.
-- Global remittance flows total nearly $100 billion annually, and are significantly larger - and growing faster than - official development assistance.
-- G-8 countries agreed to launch pilot projects with a view to cutting transaction costs - which can be as high as 10-15% - by half. For example, under the U.S. - Mexico Partnership for Prosperity, the U.S. reduced remittance costs by 56%, putting more money in the hands of recipient families.
-- Expand access to microfinance to help new entrepreneurs establish or grow their businesses and pull themselves out of poverty. The G-8 will pilot this initiative in the Broader Middle East region, where the G-8 has pledged to:

  • Help over two million entrepreneurs help themselves out of poverty through microfinance loans over 5 years;
  • Establish a Microfinance Best Practices Training Center in Jordan;
  • Launch the first microfinance pilot project in Yemen.
The U.S. will expand its already robust microfinance program, which is currently active in 58 countries, reaching over 5 million clients worldwide with total combined loans of more than $2.5 billion. For example, the U.S. is working in Egypt with nine partner institutions to develop lending programs that have extended more than 1.3 million loans from 1990-2003, creating more than 300,000 jobs. Forty percent of borrowers are women.

-- Help finance housing and clean water by developing local mortgage and municipal bond markets.

  • The U.S. African Mortgage Markets Initiative, launched in 2003, is already assisting Botswana, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa in designing and implementing mortgage finance programs.
  • The U.S. $1 billion Water for the Poor Initiative is working to bring clean water to 50 million people globally.
-- Improve the business climate in developing countries for entrepreneurs and investors, including by:
  • Launching pilot projects to assist committed countries with comprehensive reforms;
  • Encouraging multilateral development banks to increase lending and technical assistance for small businesses; and
  • Encouraging developing countries to step up efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting of intellectual property.

The U.S. will help organize a conference this fall to outline strategies for private sector growth and share best practices.

# # #

For the full text of the Action Plan for Applying the Power of
Entrepreneurship to the Eradication of Poverty, please click here.

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