The Ebola virus is expected to be on President Barack Obama's agenda when he meets with 50 African leaders on Monday.
Topics at the unprecedented summit will also include regional security, building democracies, and business investment in Africa.
"The importance of this for America needs to be understood," Obama said Friday. "Africa is growing, and you've got thriving markets and you've got entrepreneurs and extraordinary talent among the people there."
"Africa also happens to be one of the continents where America is most popular, and people feel a real affinity for our way of life," he added.
The summit is seen as an attempt to build up the president's legacy on the African continent.
White House officials say they won't be distracted by various crises shaking the globe, including the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine, and Iraq.
"It's the nature of the world we live in today where there are multiple crises at any time," said Witney Schneidman, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. "But that should not paralyze us from moving forward on key areas to advance our interests."