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AFRICA AIR CARGO TRANSPORT ROUNDTABLE SEEKS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & MORE TRADE BETWEEN U.S. & AFRICAN MARKETS

U.S. Ex-Im Bank, Trade & Development Agency, and U.S. Department of Transportation Sponsor Two-Day International Trade Development Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2002

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Ken Murphy (202) 565-3200

A working group of experts from the United States and Africa met at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) November 19 - 20, 2002 to discuss ways to promote economic development and trade by addressing air cargo transportation issues between the two continents as they relate to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA provides market incentives that encourage investment and expand trade opportunities between U.S. and sub-Saharan African businesses. It was signed into law in May 2000 and updated by President George Bush August 6, 2002.

If trade advantages for sub-Saharan Africa are to become successful, partnerships between American and African companies are necessary to build the required infrastructure facilitating air cargo transport. This includes refrigeration and warehouse facilities, safety and security improvements, and cargo handling equipment, J. Joseph Grandmaison, member of the board, Ex-Im Bank said at the Air Cargo Roundtable.

Ex-Im Bank is prepared to assist [export trade] through the financing of U.S. goods and services for the improved infrastructure of sub-Saharan African countries, Grandmaison added.

Representatives from ten African countries attended the two-day seminar along with government, non-government and private sector officials. The conference included remarks by Thelma Askey, director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Jeffrey Shane, associate deputy secretary of transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation.

Using their experience and expertise on transportation issues in Africa, the Air Cargo Roundtable participants hope to focus the attention of government leaders on the challenges and impediments to facilitating direct Africa-US air cargo service. Their recommendations are intended to be presented at a January 2003 AGOA meeting in Mauritius.

Aid without trade is of no assistance to Africa. We need trade&and access to markets. What is really needed today is trade and real private sector activity, Dr. Magnus Kpakol, Economic Advisor to President of Nigeria said in an address to the group.

Kpakol said that African and American companies need to expand their trade for the mutual benefit of companies on both continents. Exports from the United States, to us (African countries) are not just exports. They are means for economic development, Kpakol said.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and insurance. In the last five years, Ex-Im Bank has authorized $1.2 billion in financing to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa. In fiscal year 2002, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $13 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.