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EXPORT-IMPORT BANK WORKS TO INCREASE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon to visit three sub-Saharan Africa Countries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 15, 1998

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

David W. Carter (202) 565-3200

Washington, D.C.: In a continuing effort to promote and expand the export of U.S.-made products, Export-Import Bank of the United States Chairman James A. Harmon is leading an eight-day business development mission to three sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries: Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, from April 17 through April 25, 1998. This marks the first time an Ex-Im Bank Chairman has visited Southern Africa and first time in over fifteen years a Chairman has visited sub-Saharan Africa.

Ex-Im Bank expects demand for financing to increase this year and Chairman Harmon's visit 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 in sub-Saharan Africa and government leaders, that Ex-Im Bank is committed to finance creditworthy projects and exports of all sizes to this important developing market, Harmon said.

Ex-Im Bank is open to consider business in 18 sub-Saharan Africa countries. Since 1993, Ex-Im Bank has financed $653 million in exports to nine sub-Saharan Africa countries.

This trade mission is a natural follow-up to the efforts Ex-Im Bank has made domestically to increase awareness in the export community about the potential market sub-Saharan Africa offers, Harmon said. Ex-Im Bank recently established a sub-Saharan Africa advisory committee, appointed a special coordinator for SSA activities and has teamed up with the Corporate Council on Africa to educate U.S. exporters.

The Ex-Im Bank team is scheduled to meet with business executives and government officials from Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, along with U.S. Embassy officials involved with business and economic development.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that is a valuable partner for U.S. exporters. Since 1993, Ex-Im Bank has completed over 11,000 financial transactions. In the past five years the Bank has made a major effort to reach out to small businesses. Small companies account for more than 80 percent of Ex-Im Bank's transactions.