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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 15, 1994


Central Asian-American Enterprise Fund

President Clinton announced today that the Honorable Stephen Solarz, former Congressman from New York, will be the Chairman of the Central Asian-American Enterprise Fund. The Fund will promote private sector development in the five states of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The United States plans to capitalize the Fund with $150 million in foreign assistance appropriations over the next three-four years. The Fund, which will be managed by a private Board of Directors, will have authority to make equity investments and loans and offer technical assistance to promote new private companies and entrepreneurs in the Central Asian states, with special emphasis on the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises. Although the Enterprise Fund may invest in any of the Central Asian states, it is expected to begin operations and establish offices in those states demonstrating a commitment to, and progress toward, economic reform, specifically Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The Fund also will be encouraged to use its U.S. Government funding to attract other resources for private sector development in the Central Asian states.

The Central Asian-American Enterprise Fund will be similar in purpose and authorities to the existing Enterprise Funds in Russia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Bulgaria. The Enterprise Fund concept was created in the Support for Eastern European Democracy Act of 1989 and was extended to Russia and other New Independent States in the 1992 Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets (FREEDOM) Support Act.

The Administration expressed its intention to establish the Central Asian-American Enterprise Fund during Vice President Gore's visit to Central Asia in January 1994. The Enterprise Fund complements other U.S. assistance programs in the region, including those in the FY 1994 $2.5 billion bilateral support package for Russia and other new independent states of the former Soviet Union.

In addition to Mr. Solarz, the Fund's Board of Directors will include Scott Sperling, Managing Partner at Aneas Group; Martha Brill Olcott, Professor of Political Science at Colgate University; Jerry K. Pearlman, Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Electronics Corporation; Sanford Robertson, Partner at Robertson, Stephens & Company; Monica Vachher, formerly President of The Astor Group and now with Bear Stearns; and Walter White, Partner at Quarles & Brady.

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