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Ex-Im Bank Director Optimistic about Nigeria's Economic Progress, Expresses Readiness to Expand Support of U.S. Exports to Nigeria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 12, 2007

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

LAGOS, NIGERIA -- Nigeria's recent economic progress has led the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) to expand support for Nigerian purchases of U.S. goods and services exports, Ex-Im Bank Board member J. Joseph Grandmaison said today at a meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.

Grandmaison, in Lagos as part of a U.S. Transportation Sector Trade Mission for Nigerian businesses, noted that Ex-Im Bank recently opened for medium- and long-term financing in Nigeria's public sector, and for long-term financing in the nation's private sector. This action is the most recent international validation of Nigeria's economic progress by the international lending community, he said.

We are pleased to report that Ex-Im Bank has reduced the exposure fee for Nigerian transactions. Nigeria has earned these favorable terms, Grandmaison added.

Grandmaison offered an example of how the fee reductions will affect Ex-Im Bank financing for Nigerian purchases: a bank-guaranteed transaction with a 5-year term now will have a one-time exposure fee of 7.66 percent, down from 9.96 percent, a savings of 230 basis points.

All these actions reflect Nigeria's strengthening external and macroeconomic position due to the country's reform program and higher oil prices, Grandmaison said. Overall budget surpluses have emerged, reserves have increased, and gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been robust, he said. Paris Club debt relief has reduced Nigeria's annual debt servicing requirement to 1 percent of GDP. And Nigeria has obtained sovereign credit ratings from Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

Ongoing financial management will be needed, and Nigeria will have to meet the challenges inherent in political transition, budget negotiations, the government's pursuit of large-scale investments, and the country's dependence on the oil and gas sector, Grandmaison said.

On Nov. 12, Grandmaison participated in a transportation-sector trade mission for Nigerian businesses at the Eko Hotel in Lagos, organized by Ex-Im Bank in cooperation with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. The meeting was aimed at bringing together Nigerian and U.S. companies and lenders.

The U.S. manufacturing companies participating in the trade event included Bell Helicopters, Boeing, Case/New Holland, Caterpillar, Cessna Aircraft, Freightliner LLC., Raytheon's Beechcraft, International Truck and Engine, Mack Trucks, and W&S Drudge Manufacturing.

Lenders attending the event included several of the Nigerian banks that enjoy access to a special Ex-Im Bank facility totaling over $400 million, and U.S. and international banks including BNP Paribas, HSBC Securities, M&T Bank, RZB Financial and Sovereign Bank.

Ex-Im Bank, the official export-credit agency of the United States, is in its 73rd year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.