An upcoming summit for U.S. and African leaders offers the U.S. a chance to regain some of the ground lost to China when it comes to investment opportunities, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.
Bloomberg said the Obama administration is aware of Chinese dominance in the continent that has been on the rise for several years, and is taking steps to address it. The Chinese surpassed the U.S. as the lead trading partner in 2009, and their trade numbers are now up two to one over the U.S.
"There are great natural resources there, which China needs and America needs, as does Europe as well. But also, there's the potential for selling a lot of things there, "Bloomberg said. "The scale is big, it's spread out...you're going to create a middle class there that's going to want an awful lot of the products and the next big cities are going to be in Africa."
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit this week should explain to both Americans and American businesses the amount of opportunity in Africa for commerce, education and medical care, he said.
"We can be real partners, rather than just being a patron of one another," he said.
Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett, who appeared alongside Bloomberg, called the summit "a game changer" that helps unlock the economic potential of a continent that is often viewed as just a source of U.S. foreign aid.
"We really believe that we're switching the paradigm," she said, pointing to the administration's work on increasing power, food security or advances in health on the continent as areas for both government and private sector investment.