July 16, 2003 - US Representative Ed Royce: US Representative Ed Royce supports the Peace Corps returning to Sierra Leone

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Peace Corps Sierra Leone : The Peace Corps in Sierra Leone: July 16, 2003 - US Representative Ed Royce: US Representative Ed Royce supports the Peace Corps returning to Sierra Leone

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-232-99.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 10:54 am: Edit Post

US Representative Ed Royce supports the Peace Corps returning to Sierra Leone

US Representative Ed Royce supports the Peace Corps returning to Sierra Leone

Royce Floor Statement on Foreign Relations Authorization Bill
From the Congressional Record

Washington, Jul 16 - Mr. Chairman, firstly I would like to recognize the commendable spirit of the amendment because there are many countries throughout the world, many, where we have key interests that could use Millennium Challenge Account aid. But my concern is that this amendment by opening the door to so many middle-income countries, as the chairman said earlier, countries like Russia, countries like Turkey could actually qualify under that amendment, that would stretch the funds at the expense of the most impoverished, mainly in Africa.

I serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa. While the Millennium Challenge Account is rightly focused on developing countries in Latin America and in Asia too, we need to be aware that Africa is a continent in profound crisis. And while we have seen some positive developments, there is no getting around the fact that war and poverty and environmental degradation and so many other ills are devastating many African countries. Africa is the most impoverished continent in the world. It is the most economically marginalized continent in the world. With some 15 percent of the world's population, Africa does 1 percent of the world's trade. Many African countries stand on the precipice of political, economic, health, and humanitarian disaster. In traveling through the continent last week, President Bush championed the Millennium Challenge Account as one means of our engagement with Africa. My concern is that this amendment would lessen the Millennium Challenge Account's impact on this continent where we do have so many key interests. It is for that reason that I oppose this particular amendment, but I certainly support the underlying Hyde-Lantos amendment to expand the Peace Corps and to establish the Millennium Challenge Account.

I have had the chance to meet with Peace Corps volunteers serving in Africa, extraordinary men and women, many of whom work in challenging circumstances. President Bush has offered a bold vision to significantly expand the Peace Corps. This Hyde-Lantos underlying amendment gives the President what he needs to make this vision a reality. Under the leadership of Director Gaddi Vasquez, the Peace Corps is well poised to address the rapidly evolving challenges of the developing world. Also, the Hyde-Lantos amendment contains a provision that I offered in committee expressing the sense that the Peace Corps should return to Sierra Leone as soon as security conditions permit. Sierra Leone, which was so bleak a few years ago, is now making real strides in recovering from a horrific war. The mayhem spread by the Revolutionary United Front with the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor as the sponsor for that organization thankfully has come to an end.

Mr. Chairman, because of this brutal conflict, the Peace Corps was forced to terminate its program in Sierra Leone in 1994, after a long tradition of service focused on education, health, and agriculture. If the West African region is to have a chance at peaceful development, Charles Taylor must be brought to justice by the Special Court in Sierra Leone, and programs like the Peace Corps must return.

With the Millennium Challenge Account, we're taking a new and innovative approach to development aid. Countries making strides to root-out corruption and institute sound, market-based policies will be treated as partners. Our experience with the African Growth and Opportunity Act has shown us that these standards are an effective approach to engaging with the nations of Africa. The MCA rightly sets standards, so that all benefit: countries that receive MCA funds benefit, but so too does the United States_by making what should be productive investments in the developing world, where our nation has an increasing number of key interests.

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Story Source: US Representative Ed Royce

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sierra Leone; Congress



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