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US to invest $33 billion in Africa, Obama says

US President, Barak Obama/AFP

US President, Barak Obama/AFP

US President Barack Obama says his country must do more to boost its financial foothold in Africa as economies on the continent grow stronger.

Obama spoke at a US-Africa summit in Washington that has brought together business leaders and politicians. In conjunction with the summit, the White House is announcing $33 billion in commitments aimed at increasing US economic ties with Africa.

A big part of the money, $14 billion, is coming from the private sector.

Among the companies announcing new commitments are Coca-Cola and General Electric.

Africa’s economic growth rate of 5% per year is much higher than the world average.

But American firms still have plenty to learn when it comes to doing business with the continent, according to Africa’s richest man, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote.

“American companies don’t have up-to-date information on Africa,” he told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview.

“They sit here reading [the press]. You can’t do that, you have to go there physically, you have to see what it is,” he said.

“A lot of guys believe Africa is one state. It’s not. It’s 54 different countries, different cultures so opportunities are there.”

Tuesday’s business conference is part of an unprecedented three-day US-Africa summit. Nearly 50 African leaders are in Washington for the meetings.

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