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U.S.A. — Linda Formella, Ex-Im Bank, Washington, D.C.: 202-565-3200, Nigeria — Tim Smith, U.S. Embassy, Lagos: 234-9-523-0960

Abuja, Nigeria: Medium-term financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is helping the government of Jigawa, Nigeria, purchase $6 million of U.S.-manufactured broadband wireless Internet access equipment, to be used for educational, training, commerce, and healthcare services. In a ceremony today in Abuja, Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon and Jigawa Governor Ibrahim Turaki signed a memorandum of understanding in support of the infrastructure project, along with Maurice Tose, president of Telecommunication Systems Inc., the primary exporter, Donna Simms Wilson, managing director of Loop Capital Markets, and Ben Akabueze, managing director of NAL Merchant Bank PLC of Lagos.

This telecommunications project is going to bring vital services to Jigawa, leading to more economic opportunity, said Harmon. As Ex-Im Bank's first medium-term guarantee approved in Nigeria in almost 10 years, this transaction also signifies our increasing confidence in Nigeria and our commitment to expanding support for creditworthy transactions in this market. We hope that this agreement will further encourage trade between our countries.

Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing a five-year loan from First International Bank of Hartford, Conn., to NAL Merchant Bank PLC of Lagos to enable the State of Jigawa to purchase goods from Telecommunication Systems Inc., Annapolis, Md., and additional suppliers. The State of Jigawa learned of Telecommunications Systems Inc. and the availability of Ex-Im Bank financing through Loop Capital Markets, Chicago, Ill.

In October 1999, Ex-Im Bank opened for short- and medium-term financing to the private sector in Nigeria. Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to developing markets around the world, through export credit insurance, working capital loan guarantees, loan guarantees, and direct loans. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank approved nearly $600 million for U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa -- an 11-fold increase over the previous fiscal year.

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