places compare to those in Africa. Unbelievably, 41% of Sub-Saharan Africans live on less than $2 a day, 41% of all Africans live on less than $1 a day. 200 million go hungry every day. This year alone at least a million Africans, most of them young children, will die of malaria and two million will also die of AIDS. For the first time in human history, we have the science, the technology and the money to put an end to extreme poverty. With this unprecedented historic opportunity comes a responsibility to take bold action.
Africa faces three critical issues that keep people poor and its nations weak: 1) Debt that overwhelms many African nations incurred by previous leaders which keeps many African countries building schools and hospitals. 2) AIDS, a disease that is taking the lives of an entire generation. More than 38 million people around the world are infected by HIV/AIDS, 25 million in Africa alone. 3) Trade, currently, the 50 poorest countries in the world control less than 1% of the global export market. If Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and Latin America were each to increase their share of world exports by one percent, the resulting gains in income could lift 128 million people out of poverty. In Africa alone, this would generate $70 billion - several times what the continent receives in aid.
While the devastating facts in Africa are staggering, mere sympathy for Africa sets up a weak foundation for a lasting relationship between those in prosperous western countries and the masses in Africa. It is worth considering that fighting poverty is also important for our national security. By addressing those three critical issues identified above it could save millions of lives and could change the way the United States and other wealthy nations are viewed by the rest of the world. From a national security perspective, greater prosperity for ordinary Africans would also reduce threats posed by Islamic terrorism and pandemics such as AIDS or other new infectious diseases. It sure would be nice to meet other citizens around the world outside of military encounters. Commerce and aid are methods that will allow us to do that. Like Bono said: "It is madness for us to fight the war on terror with tanks and guns when we could fight it with medicine, free schooling and freedom of thought."
Even in the middle of this catastrophic situation, a new Africa is emerging. In 2007, 20 million children are going to school for the first time in their lives. African economies are forecast to grow by an average of 5.8% in 2007, according to the latest edition of the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2007), the annual flagship publication of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The report, titled "Accelerating Africa's Development through Diversification," notes that African economies continued to sustain the growth momentum of previous years, recording an overall real GDP growth rate of 5.7% in 2006. 28 countries recorded higher economic growth rates in 2006 than 2005. Across the continent there is hope for turning the tide, African churches, community groups and media outlets are acting as the deterrent against corruption and holding their governments to account for their decisions and spending through transparency and accountability.
On my trip I will visit Botswana and South Africa. However, it is Botswana that has touched my heart the most. Botswana is among the countries hardest hit by AIDS with the second highest prevalence rate in the world. Life expectancy at birth fell