The two day summit which comprises nearly 50 African leaders hopes to showcase the U.S. interest in Africa through a series of government-private partnership deals to boost trade and investment.
“You will see a series of announcements on agriculture and food, and power and energy,” Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told Reuters. “We will make big announcements that demonstrate these are big ambitions we can take on with our African partners and the private sector.”
Shah said there will be new support for Power Africa, a privately funded program launched by President Barack Obama last year to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity and connect 20 million new customers across Africa by 2018.
The program had already met that goal after just one year, Shah said. “Next week we will announce a more than doubling of our aspirations,” he added.
Shah said while companies pledged $7 billion to the program last year, next week “there will be several billions of dollars” in new investments. The World Bank is also expected to make a major contribution toward the program, according to Bank officials.
The program is also likely to be expanded from the six nations – Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania – that currently benefit from Power Africa.
Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank, said the summit represented a shift in the U.S.-Africa relationship from a focus on aid to investment and trade.
“There are still bits of aid needed here or there but fundamentally the relationship is now defined as one of trade, investment, growth and opportunities,” Kaberuka told Reuters in an interview. “It responds to what Africans are looking for and responds to expectations of American business,” he added.
The summit will include a business conference on Tuesday bringing together African leaders and American CEOs. U.S. commerce officials said close to $1 billion in various business deals will be announced, covering different sectors and involving several African countries.
Trade ministers will spend a day discussing ways to improve the U.S. trade program with Africa, known as the African Growth Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which gives African countries duty-free access to U.S. markets. AGOA expires in September next year and will need congressional approval for renewal.