This week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., which ended yesterday, brought some 50 African heads of state and government as well as several hundred corporate officials and CEO’s for three days of meetings and debate.  During the unprecedented summit,  it was announced that U.S. companies have pledged to invest $14 billion in Africa. In addition, President Obama announced $7 billion in new financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa under the administration’s “Doing Business in Africa” campaign and $12 billion in new commitments under the president’s “Power Africa” initiative from private sector partners, the World Bank, and the government of Sweden.  “Taken together, these new commitments amount to more than $33 billion, supporting economic growth across Africa and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs,” the White House said.

Another $3 billion is to be provided by the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available up to $1 billion in financing guarantees available for agricultural exports to Africa over the next two years.

From the private sector, companies such as Wal-Mart, General Electric, Dow, the private equity fund Carlyle, the Nigeria-based industrial conglomerate Dangote Group, and the South African investment holding company Shanduka Group, among others, participated in the summit discussions.

Africa has six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. And, the continent’s population is expected to double by 2050. Total United States and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade (exports plus imports) was valued at $23.3 billion in 2013.  Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase 5.2 percent this year, with some African nations showing even more buoyant growth, according to the World Bank.

Foreign investment in Africa is expected to grow to a record $80 billion in 2014.  In recent years, China has become the most formidable of the foreign players in Africa.  Although the United States is still the leader in foreign direct investment in African economies, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s biggest trading partner in 2009.

Meanwhile,  United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced during the summit that the United States has signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the Economic Community of West African States.  The TIFA will provide a mechanism for expanding trade and investment both between the United States and the 15 ECOWAS Member States, and across the entire region.

“Africa is an increasingly critical trade partner for the United States, and the signing of this Trade and Investment Framework agreement with 15 countries of the Economic community of West African States is emblematic of our commitment to strengthening the economic bonds that connect America and the African Community.  Building on the launch of our campaign yesterday to renew the African growth and Opportunity Act, the signing of this TIFA demonstrates that the Unties States welcomes Africa’s rise, and looks forward to investing in the next generation together as we work toward’s Africa’s regional integration,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said.