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Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Nancy Publicover or Ken Murphy (202) 565-3200

Washington, D.C.: James A. Harmon, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, is leading 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. Harmon will be meeting with high-level government officials and business leaders to discuss new Ex-Im Bank initiatives to promote U.S. trade in the region. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported a record $600 million of U.S. exports to nine sub-Saharan African countries.

From October 1998 through September 1999, Ex-Im Bank authorized $531 million to finance U.S. exports to Angola, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe -- which compares to $49 million in financing to five countries in fiscal year 1998. Ex-Im Bank is open to consider business under its traditional financing programs in 32 sub-Saharan African countries and project finance funding is available in 47 sub-Saharan African countries.

Ex-Im Bank has enjoyed its most successful year in sub-Saharan Africa, with an 11-fold increase in the value of U.S. exports financed, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon. We have worked hard this year to build momentum for doing business in sub-Saharan Africa. We want to find ways to make Ex-Im Bank even more responsive so that U.S. exporters can be competitive in this market.

Ex-Im Bank has made increasing business in sub-Saharan Africa a top agency priority. In the past 12 months, Ex-Im Bank has introduced a pilot program to make short-term financing available in countries where traditional Ex-Im Bank financing is otherwise unavailable and made guarantees available for transactions denominated in South Africa's currency, the rand. Exporters and lenders can stay abreast of initiatives in Africa through E-mail Africa, a monthly interactive electronic newsletter available from Ex-Im Bank.

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 all over the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and export credit insurance. Ex-Im Bank supported approximately $16 billion in U.S. exports of U.S. exports in fiscal year 1999.