The Obama administration announced $14 billion in commitments from U.S. businesses to invest in Africa on Tuesday during the U.S.-African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
Africa is currently home to six of the world’s fastest-growing economies and has enjoyed 10 years of solid growth which, has created an increased spending power within the middle class. America is not the only country to take notice of Africa’s thriving economy. China, who passed the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009, has also been tapping into key African markets.
“We also realize we have some catching up to do,” said Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman. “We are letting Europe and China go faster than the U.S.”
The commitments announced during Tuesday’s business forum include a $2 billion investment by GE by 2018, $200 million in investments across Africa by Marriott, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Ghana’s Fidelity Bank.
The African summit being hosted at the White House this week has gathered 50 African leaders and nearly 100 representatives from American and African companies, making it the largest assembling of African leaders ever hosted by an American president.
Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist, spoke about his connection to Africa as well as his hope for it’s growth during his speech at the summit’s dinner Tuesday night.
“I stand before you as the president of the United States and a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa,” the president said at the dinner. “The blood of Africa runs through our family. And so for us, the bonds between our countries, our continents, are deeply personal.”
Obama went on to toast to “the new Africa…the Africa that is rising and so full of promise.”