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EX-IM BANK, GHANA, PHYTO-RIKER SIGN ACCORD TO FACILITATE SALE OF U.S. HIV AND AIDS-RELATED MEDICINES AND EQUIPMENT TO AFRICA

Ex-Im Bank Contemplates Providing Up To $250 Million in Financing Under The Agreement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 27, 2001

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Ghana and Phyto-Riker Pharmaceuticals, LTD, New York, NY, expressing their commitment to expand access in Ghana and other African countries to HIV and AIDS-related medicines, equipment and services. The parties to the signing expect that up to $250 million in Ex-Im Bank loans, guarantees and insurance may be provided for purchases of medicine and related equipment by Ghana under the MOU. The agreement is part of a $1 billion Ex-Im Bank program, established last July, specifically earmarked to support Africa's fight against HIV/AIDS. A similar MOU was signed with Nigeria last August.

The MOU was signed at a ceremony in the Rayburn House Office Building by Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon, Ghanaian Minister of Health Dr. Richard W. Anane, and Kennon A. Brennen, President and CEO of Phyto-Riker Pharmaceuticals. Congressman Charles B. Rangal (NY-15th District), and Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-6th District) witnessed the signing.

Ex-Im Bank is committed to helping the countries of sub-Saharan Africa access financing for U.S. medical equipment and services to improve their health care systems, Harmon said. This cooperative initiative is an important step in making HIV/AIDS protease inhibitors and other medicines and related equipment more widely available to HIV/AIDS victims.

Health Minister Anane emphasized that his country of 18 million, of whom an estimated 300,000 have contracted HIV/AIDS, will serve as the gateway for channeling HIV/AIDS drugs to affected nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Because Phyto-Riker has a proven distribution system that is already in place delivering locally made and imported drugs to West Africans, we can supply the missing link that is essential in getting vital U.S.-manufactured drugs to those infected with HIV-AIDS virus, said Kennon A. Brennen, CEO and President of Phyto-Riker.

Ex-Im Bank will approve applications for financing on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with its standard policies.

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. Ex-Im Bank supported $15.5 billion in U.S. exports in fiscal year 2000.