WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday promised more than $33 billion in public and private investments in Africa, pledging that the United States wants to deliver business and development to the rapidly booming continent, where China already has a massive presence.

Obama made the remarks as he addressed the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first of its kind and the largest event any American president has held with African heads of state and government. Countries including China have held similar events for years as they’ve sought access to African markets for oil and other natural resources.

But the U.S., Obama insisted, wants a different kind of relationship.

“We don’t look to Africa simply for its natural resources,” Obama said. “We recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential.

“We don’t simply want to extract minerals from the ground for our growth,” Obama told the gathering of African leaders and business leaders from the U.S. and Africa. “We want to build genuine partnerships that create jobs and opportunity for all our peoples and that unleash the next era of African growth. That’s the kind of partnership America offers.”

To that end, Obama announced a $7 billion program to promote U.S. exports to, and investments in, Africa under the Doing Business in Africa campaign. U.S. companies have announced new deals in energy, aviation, banking and construction worth more than $14 billion, he said.

And he announced more than $12 billion in new commitments for his Power Africa initiative, which seeks to increase access to electricity to more than 600 million people.

Former President Bill Clinton, who preceded Obama in speaking, urged U.S. businesses to embrace Africa.

“We are missing the boat,” Clinton said. “This is a very important part of our future.”

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