This week is the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. In the past four years, CGI has had over 1400 commitments involving thousands of people. And in the next ten years, CGI says there are commitments of more than $46 billion.
President Clinton sat down with Maria Bartiromo in a one-on-one sit down interview last week.
Over the years, President Clinton has talked with Bartiromo numerous times.
At CGI this year, the former president expects “to raise a huge amount of money, to do the things that we normally do.” Clinton said CGI is “doing very well in energy projects in low-income countries and in all kinds of anti-poverty healthcare and education areas.”
Education remains a key issue.
Bartiromo points out that the statistics are staggering: 70 million children will not see the inside of a primary classroom, 226 million will not continue on to secondary school.
President Clinton explained it doesn’t cost a lot to put these young kids in school. During his last year in office, he allocated $300 million of taxpayer dollars to give to poor countries to feed starving children. “The kids would come to school to get the meal, a program that is still in place today. That $300 million increased school enrollment by six million, 50 bucks a kid,” said Clinton. Obviously there’s a little more to it than that, but the point he wanted to make to us was, “It doesn't cost a lot of money in a lot of these poor countries.”
Secondly, Mr. Clinton said, “If you think about these kids as future customers, future employees, every year of schooling in a country with a per capita income that's under $2 a day adds ten percent to earnings every year for life. Just one year. So you get massive benefits.”
Global health is on the top of agenda as well. President Clinton said, “25 percent of the deaths every year - and far more in poor countries – are from AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and infections related to dirty water.”
Issue #1: Clean water. Mr. Clinton pointed out “A billion people have no access to clean water.”
Issue #2: Healthcare clinics and basically train paramedical workers who can diagnose and get medicine to people that need care.
Investing in girls is also big part of this year’s program, something our current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been educating President Clinton for more than 20 years now.
Mr. Clinton said, “It's very important to realize that most of the children who are out of school are girls. I think it's important to realize that in every society with all the different religious and moral standards that different societies have, the one universal thing that always lowers the birthrate is putting more girls in school and giving more young women access to the labor market.”
Other subjects that will be discussed are climate change and poverty alleviation.
Turning to the later this week, Maria asked President Clinton what those leaders who will be attending should be prioritizing at that meeting. As you may recall, it was during Clinton’s second term, (post-Asia financial crisis in 1998) when countries beyond the G8 gathered together. The emerging markets of the future and countries with bigger economies formed the G20. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) among others wanted to be a part of the dialogue.
President Clinton said “G20 was seen as an essential instrument of global recovery, because we knew it wouldn't be enough for the U.K. or France or Japan or America to come back alone. And China knew that in order for its growth to continue it had to have customers for its products. It's interesting, China had $2 trillion, no financial problems, but they had 35 million unemployed factory workers because the Europeans and the Americans couldn't buy their products anymore.”
Mr. Clinton thinks “There's a general awareness that we have to go beyond the G8 to have more players in a global economy if we're going to have balanced growth and mutual benefits.”
Clinton would like to hear these people talk about in advance of the G20 “What the long-term future is and whether there's anything both the businesspeople who are here and the non-governmental actors who are here can do to strengthen broad-based economic growth in those countries,”
Clinton’s Trip to North Korea
Maria asked Mr. Clinton about his trip to North Korea, rescuing Laura Ling and Euna Lee. “Can you tell us about the trip - about seeing Kim Jong-Il? What was it like?”
President Clinton said he was “Honored to do it” and it was a wonderful experience. “Those young women are very impressive. I felt even better about doing it after I met them and saw what good people they were and I met their families. It was an amazing thing,” said Clinton.
In regards to Kim Jong-Il, Clinton said they had a very good talk. But Clinton has not talked about it for a simple reason, “I don't want anything I say could inadvertently complicate the potential for progress.”
Clinton said “the minute I got back and I debriefed the Secretary of State - the National Security Advisor and the President and offloaded all that, everything important that happens from now going in involves a decision that either the - someone in the Obama Administration has to make and execute or what the North Koreans do.”
Maria Bartiromo will be live from CGI on Wednesday, September 23rd and Thursday, September 24th. We will bring you full coverage from Clinton Global Initiative.
Here's our photos with President Clinton.