Clinton Address to G-8 on Arab Countries in Transition

On the economic front, we are zeroing in on small and medium-sized enterprises because they are the growth engines in any economy. They create the bulk of new jobs and they spread wealth more broadly through more communities. And when people have the opportunity to unleash their talents and create something of their own, they are more invested in their communities, their countries, and their new democracies.

So the OECD is helping emerging democracies find ways they can loosen regulations and make it easier to start or expand a small business. Several partners are setting up funds to help small businesses gain access to loans and financing. People of the region need to see that their governments can be fair and just. So we are stepping up our efforts to return billions of dollars that were stolen or siphoned away over decades of cronyism and corruption.

The United States has been proud to champion the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery during our presidency of the G-8. The forum met earlier this month in Doha to discuss specific steps we can take to recover ill-gotten gains. Our State Department and Justice Department are working together to appoint attorneys who will work exclusively with transition countries. They will be a direct link to our recovery asset experts in Washington and will work with our law enforcement agencies to train their counterparts in the region.

We are also working to help transitioning countries develop both the accountable, transparent institutions and the culture of democracy that underlies the hope for change. We have established a transition fund to support countries as they build court systems, ministries, and other public institutions that are responsive to the needs of all their people, putting them in the best positions to lead their own reforms and see their own transition to democracy through.

Many of our partners are also making the difficult transition from protest to politics, and they need our support as they take on the different responsibilities of leadership. Many of the leaders in the emerging transitioning democracies were themselves prisoners not so long ago, or exiles, activists, dissidents. So as we look at how we can help them make their own personal transition from protest to politics, we are setting up programs to assist in doing that.

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