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EXPORT-IMPORT BANK CHAIRMAN JAMES A. HARMON LEADING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MISSION TO SOUTH AFRICA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 15, 1998

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

David W. Carter (202) 565-3200

Washington, D.C.: Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman James A. Harmon will meet with business, financial and government leaders in South Africa as part of an eight-day business development mission to three sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries: Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The sub-Saharan Africa trip is a direct follow-up to President Clinton's recent trip to Africa and Ex-Im Bank's commitment to the bi-partisan Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa legislative initiative.

Ex-Im Bank expects demand for financing to increase this year and Chairman Harmon's trip at this time will better equip him to make informed decisions on this important market. This trip, in part, represents a clear signal, to U.S. exporters, businesses and government leaders in South Africa, that Ex-Im Bank is committed to finance creditworthy projects and exports of all sizes to this important developing market.

Ex-Im Bank is open for short-, medium- and long-term financing in South Africa. For private-sector transactions, Ex-Im Bank may require an acceptable financial institution to act as either guarantor or obligor. The large private banking sector in South Africa may be able to guarantee repayment of smaller firms` obligations arising from the importation of U.S. goods or services. Alternatively, Ex-Im Bank will accept private obligors which are creditworthy as demonstrated by their financial statements, commercial track record and credit history.

Ex-Im Bank is also interested in considering acceptable forms of limited recourse project finance in South Africa where reasonable assurance of repayment is based on the project's cash flow rather than a guarantor.

Medium-term sales to South Africa can also be supported under the Credit Guarantee Facility Program (CGF). A CGF, a medium-term line of credit, has been extended by Westdeutsche Landesbank (New York) to ABSA Band Ltd. (Johannesburg) and ABN AMRO Bank (Chicago) to Impofin (Sandton).