Powell Suggests APEC Strategy for Bridging Digital Divide
to the APEC Plenary in Los Cabos, Mexico, Powell said the
United States “will devote time and resources to help the (APEC)
education network develop and implement this strategy.”
Powell also spoke of APEC efforts, led by the United States, geared
toward promoting “greater investment in our people and to empower them
through access to health, education, information and especially access
“Our people will always be our most valuable assets,” Powell stressed.
Following is the State Department transcript of Secretary Powell’s
October 24 remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Los Cabos, Mexico)
REMARKS TO THE APEC PLENARY
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
October 24, 2002
Fiesta Americana Hotel
Los Cabos, Mexico
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. To drive growth and generate prosperity, we
in the APEC region are making substantial investments in our economies
and in our people.
We know that strengthening our security, particularly our security
from global terrorism, is an important part of that effort. Our
leaders will soon issue a package of bold joint actions to make the
flow of trade, finance and communication more secure.
My colleague, Secretary Mineta, spoke yesterday about the importance
that my government attaches to this initiative. The United States is
committed to building counterterrorism capacity in the region, and we
are prepared to offer programs and activities that can help address
the needs of the various nations of the APEC region.
We will be distributing a document with details of our capacity
We look forward to working with all of you to ensure our common
security — security that is vital to our continued growth. Beyond
security, APEC has been active in another essential area of sound
pro-growth policy: investing in people. Investing in education and
health assures more equitable sharing of the benefits of growth.
Investing in our people also spurs growth itself by creating vigorous
and skilled citizens who become agents of development themselves.
Their productivity in turn generates more resources to invest back in
our societies — so that the virtuous circle that we have just
described is at the very heart of development. The United States is
proud to lead a number of efforts in APEC to promote greater
investment in our people and to empower them through access to health,
education, information and especially access to capital.
Allow me to review briefly some of the APEC economic and technical
cooperation programs which we strongly support. In the area of health:
We have spearheaded efforts to better coordinate disease monitoring
networks. This will help APEC members better detect and respond to
outbreaks of infectious disease.
We are helping to improve HIV/AIDS prevention and care standards
through a project that we are pleased to co-sponsor with Thailand.
And we welcome the important new cooperative efforts by APEC members
in such areas as pandemic influenza planning, better use of on-line
databases, and health as it relates to water resources and
Finally, we have built on APEC’s tradition of working closely with the
private sector. For example, we will be working with industry,
international organizations and the scientific community to establish
what we call the “Life Science Forum”. The Forum will promote research
and development of new products that will both save lives and drive
On education, we are taking better advantage of the opportunities
created by the information technology revolution to reach out to the
peoples of APEC and bridge the digital divide among us. We are
developing “the Asia Pacific Network for Education” with the APEC
cyber education cooperation consortium. This web portal provides a
single entry point for policymakers and teachers to learn about best
practices in education throughout the APEC region.
U.S. companies are providing computer training to information
technology professionals and others from all around the APEC region as
part of China’s human capacity building promotion program. And the
United States has entered into a project with the People’s Republic of
China to teach English and Chinese using web-based technology.
Indeed, APEC is increasingly active in connecting our worlds and
improving our schools. And by better coordinating our activities, we
could realize many more concrete results.
I propose that we take our efforts a step further, and ask our
officials in APEC to develop a long-range strategy on e-learning. The
goal would be to help close the digital divide by increasing the
number of high-quality, low cost educational resources available to
the peoples of APEC.
The United States will devote time and resources to help the education
network develop and implement this strategy.
And we would welcome partners in this effort, such as the APEC
Teaching people new skills only empowers them, however, if they have
the opportunity to use those skills to better their lives. Improved
access to financing leads to greater economic well-being. In turn,
greater economic security allows people to invest in healthcare and to
invest in education, and ultimately, in themselves.
The United States is proud to have been an integral part this year of
APEC’s work on micro-enterprise and micro-finance. We want to ensure
that micro-entrepreneurs have access to the market-based financing and
services they need, and we championed the establishment of a permanent
sub-group on micro-enterprise.
APEC members must continue their efforts to improve the soundness and
efficiency of our financial markets so that all businesses, large and
small, have access to the resources they need to grow.
Also, we recognize the powerful contribution that women make to
sustainable economic development, so we must do all we can to
cultivate entrepreneurship by women.
And we must work to build a creative environment that encourages new
ideas and new businesses.
For example, new technologies, such as agricultural bioengineering,
can better people’s lives by enhancing food nutrition, improving
productivity and protecting the environment.
Fundamentally, our collective capacity to reap the benefits of
globalization depends on establishing conditions for good governance,
sound economic and trade policies, and wise stewardship of our
resources — especially our human resources.
Our people will always be our most valuable assets. My government
remains committed to working with our APEC partners to achieve a
prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific region by freeing and
empowering all of our peoples.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)