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Obama to announce $14 billion in U.S. corporate investments in Africa

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday that U.S. businesses have committed to investing $14 billion in construction, clean energy, banking, and information technology projects across Africa, a White House official said.

The announcement will occur at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, part of a three-day Africa summit in Washington meant to showcase U.S. interest in improving trade and investment in the region.

"These investments will deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for US businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa," the White House official said.

Obama will take part in a discussion with corporate chief executives and government leaders at the event, which will be attended by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former President Bill Clinton.

The business forum will allow dozens of African heads of state to mingle with U.S. and African executives, the official said. It will focus broadly on investment in finance, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and consumer goods.

More than 90 U.S. companies are slated to participate including Chevron Corp

In a brief preview of Obama's remarks, the White House did not give specifics on the nature of the business deals or identify which companies were involved.

"These agreements represent conclusive evidence that America is open for more business with Africa as the Continent’s economic ascent is just beginning," Pritzker said in a statement.

"Each day, 250,000 Americans go to work in jobs supported by exports to Africa and these deals will lead to increased prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic in the months ahead," she said.

The Obama administration has billed the summit as the first of its kind, but it comes long after Africa gatherings hosted in recent years by China, India, Japan and Europe, suggesting the United States is largely playing a game of catch-up for access to a market in several growing industries.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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