(Changes figure in paragraph 8 to "several billion dollars"
from "in excess of $20 billion" after official correction from
* Summit to showcase U.S. business interest in Africa
* Funding boosts for peacekeeping, energy, food
* Power program takes off
By Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON, Aug 3 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. officials said the Aug. 4 to 6 summit in Washington of
nearly 50 African leaders hopes to showcase 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.
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 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 U.S. 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
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.
FOOD, FARM PROGRAMS
There will also be significant increases in private sector
support for U.S.-backed food and agricultural programs in
Africa, including the New Alliance for Food Security and
Nutrition, U.S. development officials said.
The program was launched in 2012 to bring together African
governments, the private sector and donors to boost investment
in agricultural production after a massive 2008/09 food price
crisis, which sparked unrest in developing nations.
An announcement worth billions of dollars by a large U.S.
beverage company is expected to boost purchases from African
farmers, according to an official, who declined to elaborate.
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.
In other funding increases, the State Department is expected
to announce a further $60 million a year for peacekeeping
training in six African countries, according to U.S. officials.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Frances Kerry and