Today, leaders from 15 countries gathered in the Dominican Republic for the fourth Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial. Delegates from the Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, and United Nations are also attending. This is the third Pathways meeting Secretary Clinton has attended, and one could clearly see her enthusiasm as we talked about the day ahead on our flight down from Washington.
Pathways is a policy-level dialogue in which Western Hemisphere countries committed to democracy and open markets learn from one another's experiences and seeks to implement best practices so that economic prosperity can reach more and more people. The underlying goal of Pathways is to spread the benefits of economic growth more broadly to all of our hemisphere's citizens.
The leaders of the countries assembled here recognize that more needs to be done. As Secretary Clinton said today, "...The aim of Pathways to Prosperity -- to benefit all citizens, men and women, rich and poor, from all races and all backgrounds -- is not only just. It is also a necessity. When it comes to one of the greatest challenges of our time -- creating broad-based, sustainable economic growth -- we don't have a single person to waste."
Our visit in Santo Domingo began with Secretary Clinton meeting with a group of women who demonstrate the necessity of building a global economy in which small farmers, small businesses, workers, indigenous communities, vulnerable groups, and others are empowered to participate and contribute. It was wonderful to witness the spontaneous, enthusiastic applause that greeted the Secretary when she said: "I am very impressed with what you each are doing now, because you are making such a difference in the economies of your communities and your countries. And I am going to continue to work with you in order to support you because it is absolutely true that where women are involved in economies, everybody does better. That's just common sense."
These women -- and the thousands like them -- are just one of the reasons why the Secretary announced an additional $17.5 million to fund projects under Pathways that foster inclusive economic growth. The United States supports successful Pathways programs throughout the hemisphere. We are producing results by partnering with interested governments and the prIvate sector to expand small-business development centers, provide technical assistance for infrastructure projects, and build a network of women entrepreneurs.
One of the most important things about these efforts is ensuring that people who have not obtained the benefits of global economic growth in the Western Hemisphere receive those benefits. We have seen that growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean are very high. Macro numbers are great, but there are still lots of populations in the hemisphere that are not part of that growth -- women, young people, Afro descendents, and indigenous communities.
We believe the Pathways' mission is critical for the future prosperity and security of our hemisphere and the well-being of all our citizens. And, these initiatives are all part of a larger effort, not just in this hemisphere, but globally, to underscore the importance of the economic-commercial trade component of our diplomatic agenda. Secretary Clinton has made economic statecraft a core component of our diplomats' work. Pathways really fits perfectly into that framework.
As nightfall settles on this beautiful island, and I catch a glimpse of the smiling faces along the Secretary's motorcade route, I get a real sense of optimism, that working together we can create more opportunity, greater prosperity, and a better future.
You, too, can learn more about Pathways initiatives at pathways-caminos.org.