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USA -Nancy Publicover, Ex-Im Bank, Washington, D.C.: 202-565-3200

Medium-term financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is enabling entrepreneurs in Ghana to obtain the U.S. goods and services they need to build their businesses. Ghanaian customers can use an Ex-Im Bank loan guarantee to secure flexible financing and affordable payment terms from their U.S. suppliers - features that are especially attractive to small and new businesses.

Chairman James A. Harmon said, Ex-Im Bank helps Ghanaian businesses grow by providing affordable access to U.S. capital equipment and services. This also creates strong commercial ties that will benefit both our economies.

John Richter, Ex-Im Bank's regional director for Africa is on a 17-day trade mission to Africa to encourage more businesses and lenders to look to Ex-Im Bank for financing their U.S. purchases. This mission includes two days in Ghana.

Riggs Bank N.A., Washington, D.C., is using an Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed loan to finance Osiadan Company, Ltd., a family-owned business in Accra, in order to purchase a $1.7 million roof tile manufacturing line from Bob Russell Equipment Inc., Rockville, Md and five U.S. suppliers.

Ex-Im Bank programs provide Ghanaian buyers with a source of attractive financing, said Eric Bernard, vice president of Riggs Bank's international division. For instance, with Ex-Im Bank's guarantee, the Ghanaian buyer can get longer repayment terms, typically 5 years versus 2 years. We enable companies in Ghana to grow by using Ex-im Bank programs. This transaction is Riggs' first in Ghana using Ex-Im Bank and Bernard said more are underway.

First International Bank of Hartford, Conn. is an active lender in Ghana, through its West African agent, Network Financial Services. Stephen M. Greene, senior vice president international banking, said: Ghanaian companies are unable to invest due to the high cost and scarcity of capital due to local market conditions. Ex-Im Bank support allows us to provide these companies with the capital required to make investments, while simultaneously benefiting the U.S. exporter.

First International Bank relied on Ex-Im Bank's medium-term loan guarantee to finance four recent transactions in Ghana, all on behalf of medium-sized, family-owned businesses:

· Matilda Ossei Bonsu Caterpillar Equipment, an equipment rental company in Suame-Kumasi, completed the $631,000 purchase of motor grader, a loader, and a skidder from U.S. Equipment Exports, Red Oak, Texas.

· Quality Food Processing, an Accra tuna processor, purchased $1 million of refrigeration equipment from Bmil International, New York, N.Y. and four additional U.S. suppliers; Custom Food Machinery Inc., Stockton, Calif.; Jamison Door Company, Hagerstown, Md.; and Apache Products Company, Miami, Fla.

· Nagogo Enterprise Ltd. completed the $475,000 sale of a soft drink filling system and three trucks from Reefco Logistics, Raleigh, N.C. Suppliers include Elf Machinery Inc., Laporte, Ind.; Norland International Inc., Lincoln, Neb.; and Navistar International Corp., Chicago, Ill.

Ghana is Ex-Im Bank's most active market in Africa. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank approved more than $145 million in financing for U.S. exports to Ghana, out of nearly $600 million to sub-Saharan Africa. 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.