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Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

James A. Harmon, chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), today announced Nigeria is eligible for Ex-Im Bank medium-term financing in the private sector, which will enable Nigerian businesses to buy US capital equipment to build infrastructure. Ex-Im Bank opened for business in Nigeria two months ago with a $100 million Pilot Program for short-term insurance in the private sector.

By providing medium-term financing in the private sector, Ex-Im Bank is opening the door to Nigerian businesses to obtain any capital goods, raw materials and services they need for their business, Harmon said. Ex-Im Bank's medium-term financing program sets no dollar limit on purchases by Nigerian companies. Purchases can be for a small amount of money or for millions of dollars,

Harmon is on the second leg of a 12-day business development mission to four sub-Saharan African countries -- Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Mozambique -- from October 16 through October 28, 1999.

He is scheduled to meet with Nigerian President Obasanjo and other government officials, business leaders and members of the banking community to strengthen partnerships that will facilitate US trade with Nigeria through Ex-Im Bank support. During his three-day visit, Harmon also will address the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja Thursday.

Ex-Im Bank supported $600 million in US exports to sub-Saharan Africa in fiscal year 1999, 11 times the total for the previous year. Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of US goods and services to developing markets around the world. Worldwide in fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported more than $16.7 billion of US exports.