[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 
    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

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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