For IMMEDIATE Release
Poverty & Terrorism: MEPI as a Solution
BACKGROUND -- According to the United Nations Arab Human Development Report 2002, 14 million Arab adults lack the job skills to provide enough income for even the most basic of necessities. At the same time, Arab countries are experiencing steep increases in their populations, leading to as many as 50 million more workers crowding job markets in the next decade. In terms of economic growth and trade, all of the Arab countries combined only generate 1 percent of the worlds non-oil exports. These factors, along with the absence of accountable political and social institutions, contribute to continuing instability in the Middle East. In December 2002, the Bush Administration unveiled its Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a foreign assistance program aimed at developing the Arab world and focusing on economic, political and educational sectors. These initiatives seek to reform financial sectors, strengthen commercial legal systems, increase transparency, open markets across the region, reform antiquated judicial systems, debt reform, microenterprise lending, and literacy programs; provide parliamentary training; create child-centered schools; and improve linkages between universities in the U.S. and the Middle East.
WHAT: Oversight hearing: "The Middle East Partnership Initiative: Promoting Democratization in a Troubled Region"
Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair
WHEN: 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 19, 2003
WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
WITNESSES: William Burns, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Wendy Chamberlin (Invited), Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Near East, U.S. Agency for International Development.
Questions to be raised during this hearing: