U.S to increase funding for Africa
The United States will announce nearly $1 billion in business deals, increase funding for peacekeeping and commit billions of dollars to expanding food and power programs in Africa during a summit this week, U.S and development officials say.
U.S interest in the fast-growing region through a series of government-private partnership deals to boost trade and investment.
The spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is also a reminder of the vast development needs that persist in some of the region’s poorest countries, despite rapid economic growth and investment, Reuters reports.
Administration officials have played down questions over whether the summit is in response to China’s growing presence in the region. Instead, they have emphasized that American interests go beyond Africa’s oil and minerals, where China is focused.
“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.
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