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Export-Import Bank and Department of Transportation Sign Safe Skies Africa Initiative with Eight sub-Saharan Africa Countries. Effort to Help Improve Aviation Security, Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 1999

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Ken Murphy (202) 565-3200

Atlanta - The Export-Import Bank of the United States signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with eight sub-Saharan Africa nations designed to encourage the participating countries to implement the recommendations for aviation safety and security improvements contained in the Safe Skies for Africa Initiative. Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency, which provides financing for the purchase of US-made products sold to buyers in third world and emerging markets.

Ex-Im Bank is committed to providing competitive financing to support the sale of US-made products to qualified buyers for use in critical infrastructure improvements in sub-Saharan Africa such as the Safe Skies Initiative, Harmon said. Ex-Im Bank has authorized nearly $520 million in financing, in Fiscal Year 1999, to sub-Saharan Africa countries including those participating in the Safe Skies Initiative.

The Safe Skies memorandum was signed by ministers from the governments of Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d`Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Chairman James A. Harmon signed for the Export-Import Bank and Secretary Rodney Slater signed for the US Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation is hosting transportation ministers from 40 sub-Saharan Africa countries and US government officials for a three-day transportation ministerial being held at the Carter Presidential Center September 27-29.

In addition to possible financing as an outgrowth of the Safe Skies memorandum, in August 1999, Ex-Im Bank initiated an Africa Pilot Program to assist businesses in 16 selected sub-Saharan Africa countries to obtain financing for the purchase of US-made spare parts, raw materials and agricultural commodities. The short-term export credit insurance will generally be made available in the private sector through irrevocable letters of credit from credit-worthy banks in the respective countries.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that assists in financing the export of US goods and services to industrializing and developing markets all over the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank expects to support $15 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.