President Clinton, Carlos Slim Announce $50 Million in New Projects in Mexico, Colombia, and Peru

    New project to enable 50,000 additional cataract surgeries in Peru

    New $20 million project will strengthen small businesses, create jobs in
    underserved areas of Colombia

    New $20 million education project in Mexico

    MEXICO CITY, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - Today, President Clinton joined
philanthropists Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim, along with President of the
Inter-American Development Bank Luis Moreno, to announce new projects of the
Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) in three countries. The
projects will create a new $20 million project to strengthen small and
medium-sized businesses in underserved areas of Colombia; support
50,000 additional cataract surgeries over three years in Peru; and support a
$20 million education project in Mexico.
    Today's announcements build on CGSGI projects announced on March 1, 2008,
and reflect CGSGI's focus on core social development issues such as health and
education that can unleash economic growth, and specific investments that can
generate economic growth in ways that are sustainable by local businesses,
communities, and governments.
    "CGSGI is working to give people and communities the tools they need to
work themselves out of poverty," said President Clinton. "I'm honored to be
working with Frank Giustra, Carlos Slim, Luis Moreno, and our many other
partners in the government, NGO, and private sectors, and I'm delighted that
we're launching this work in Latin America, where the income gap between rich
and poor is among the largest in the world. The projects we're announcing
today should help improve the lives of thousands of people."
    In Peru, CGSGI and Fundacion Carlos Slim each will provide $5 million - a
total of up to $10 million - to enable 50,000 additional cataract surgeries
over three years. Cataract surgeries are highly effective and inexpensive, yet
cataracts remain the number one cause of blindness in the developing world,
according to WHO statistics. Last year, the Government of Peru reported
83,000 untreated cataract cases and provided 12,100 cataract surgeries between
September 2007 and August 2008, while 16,000 additional cases were discovered.
In contrast, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in
developed countries, with two million operations performed each year in the
United States alone. Working in partnership with the Peruvian Ministry of
Health, leading NGOs in the health sector, and physicians groups in Peru,
CGSGI and Fundacion Carlos Slim will address this inequality by supporting the
costs of medical equipment and supplies, personnel, and transportation for
10,000 cataract surgeries in year one, 15,000 in year two, and 25,000 in year
three. These surgeries will restore vision - and productivity - for thousands
of people, with positive consequences for their families and communities.
    "President Clinton and I share a strong commitment to expanding economic
opportunity and alleviating poverty in Latin America," said Carlos Slim. "I'm
happy to be launching these projects with the Clinton Giustra Sustainable
Growth Initiative to improve health, education, job creation, and incomes in
Peru and Colombia. This builds on my Foundation's long-standing work to
improve lives in Mexico and Latin America." Slim has pledged $20 million for
education projects in Mexico.
    In Colombia, CGSGI and Fundacion Carlos Slim each are providing
$10 million to create a new $20 million project that will have as its
centerpiece a fund that will make investments in existing microenterprises and
small and medium-sized businesses in areas of Colombia that are currently
underserved by existing investment funds, and that are seeking to expand or
scale up, with the aim of enabling sustainable job creation and income
generation. The Inter-American Development Bank will provide critical
knowledge of the financial landscape in Colombia and will consider
contributing up to $5 million in additional capital to the fund. It is
expected that the fund will grow in size as additional investors and partners
join. Although the Colombian stock market has risen fourteen-fold since 2001,
22 million Colombians still live in poverty. Thirty-percent of the Colombian
labor force is employed by small and medium-sized enterprises, which cite
access to financing as their primary constraint on development and
diversification. The significant, innovative project announced today will
empower small and medium-sized businesses to grow and prosper, and enrich
their communities.
    "Small and medium-sized businesses are often the lifeblood of a
community, and their success is essential to sustaining economic growth and
generating income for families," Luis Moreno, head of the Inter-American
Development Bank. "We are proud to be a part of CGSGI's efforts to provide
underserved businesses with funding that will empower them to prosper and
enrich their communities."
    In Mexico, CGSGI and Fundacion Carlos Slim each are providing $10 million
for a $20 million education project.
    Established in June 2007, CGSGI is an innovative partnership between the
William J. Clinton Foundation, the private sector, governments, local
communities, and other NGOs to increase the scope, scale, impact, and
sustainability of social and economic development efforts in countries where
the natural resource industries are an important part of the economy. Acting
as an honest broker and multi-faceted partner, CGSGI is focused on
market-driven development that creates jobs and increases incomes, and on
enabling factors such as health and education.
    "When President Clinton and I launched CGSGI, we had a vision of changing
the way business is done in the developing world by working across sectors and
helping to deliver programs that truly change people's lives," said Frank
Giustra. "I want to thank all of our corporate partners in the natural
resources industry and other parts of the private sector, and, today, in
particular, Carlos Slim and Luis Moreno for their leadership and support in
making that vision a reality."
    In addition to the core support of Frank Giustra, CGSGI has received the
generous backing of Carlos Slim, who has committed $100 million for approved
projects in Latin America, and Lukas Lundin, who has committed $100 million
for joint projects in Africa. CGSGI also has received financial support and
endorsements from dozens of entrepreneurs and leading companies in the natural
resources and affiliated sectors.

    About the Clinton Foundation

    President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the
mission to strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the
challenges of global interdependence. To advance this mission, the Foundation
works with like-minded organizations and forms partnerships with national and
local governments around the world to make an immediate and measurable impact
in several areas, including bringing HIV/AIDS care and treatment to
underserved populations, developing sustainable economic growth in Africa and
fighting global climate change. The Clinton Global Initiative brings together
a community of leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of
the world's most pressing issues. In the United States, the Foundation is
working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity and is helping to
expand economic opportunity for families and individuals. To learn more, visit

For further information:

For further information: Clinton Foundation Press Office, (212)

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