President Bush Welcomes Millennium Challenge Account Recipients

Voice of America, DC
May 10 2004

President Bush Welcomes Millennium Challenge Account Recipients

Paula Wolfson

President Bush is urging more developing countries to adopt economic
and political reforms, saying it will qualify them for increased
American aid. Mr. Bush honored the first sixteen countries to become
eligible for a new aid program that rewards reforms with development
Under this newly implemented program, countries that can prove they
are implementing reforms can apply for money from a special aid fund
called the Millennium Challenge Account.

That fund is expected to result in a substantial increase in U-S
foreign assistance in the next few years, and is the focal point of
the administration’s aid policy.

Although creation of the fund was announced by the president two
years ago, the first recipients were announced last week. President
Bush personally congratulated the qualifying countries Monday at a
ceremony attended by their ambassadors to Washington and other

“The 16 chosen in this round are showing the way, are showing what is
possible, are serving as a bright light in the developing world. You
have taken the first courageous steps toward greater independence and
greater wealth, and greater hopes for the people you serve,” he says.

These countries span the globe – from Armenia to Madagascar…Bolivia
to Sri Lanka. . .Mali to Mongolia. The president said they have
chosen the path of reform, and their people are better off as a

“For example, Madagascar is aggressively fighting corruption. The
Ministry of Justice has suspended a dozen magistrates on suspicion of
corrupt activity. The government is also implementing an ambitious
program of judicial reform. Senegal, Africa’s longest-standing
democracy, has also enacted new anti-corruption laws, and is
implementing new measures to fight money-laundering, he says.

Mr. Bush also cited government reforms to improve health care in
Honduras, and boost both health and education spending in Georgia. He
said these steps prove these countries have the will to do what is
necessary to really combat poverty.

“Reform can bring more aid from America, and it will also bring more
investment and more trade, lessening the need for aid over time.
Reform will be repaid many times over in the relief of poverty, and
rising national wealth and stability for their countries,” he says.

In addition to implementing reforms, countries seeking Millennium
Challenge Grants are required to list their goals for the future and
outline further steps they plan to take to meet the needs of their
people and increase economic growth.