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Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee Meets to Focus on How EXIM Support for Transformative Industries Increases U.S. Exports

Committee Approves Letter Supporting Prosper Africa Initiative and Discusses EXIM Implementation of Congressional Directive to Compete with China

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2020

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Washington, D.C. – The Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee (SAAC) of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) met today in a public meeting to discuss how EXIM support for critical industries – such as agriculture, telecommunications, and health care – can result in a mutually beneficial economic partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

All 11 members of the committee voted unanimously to adopt a letter of recommendations underscoring “how the Export-Import Bank of the United States and other United States Government agencies work more closely together to achieve the vision of President Trump’s Prosper Africa initiative,” a whole-of-government economic effort to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

The committee received an update on how EXIM is implementing its historic seven-year reauthorization, which provides clear direction to focus on economic and national security challenges from China, from EXIM Senior Vice President of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Ross Branson.

With six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world and more than one billion consumers, Africa is poised to play a pivotal role in the global economy. EXIM has a critical role in helping American business take advantage of these opportunities, while simultaneously creating and sustaining U.S. jobs. Currently, China is the top exporter of goods to 19 of 48 sub-Saharan African countries and has become Africa’s largest trading partner. Forty countries on the continent have signed bilateral trade agreements with Beijing.

“Now that EXIM is fully reopened and reauthorized with a new mandate to advance the comparative leadership of the United States through transformational exports like communications technology, biotechnology, and biomedical sciences, we value the insights of our EXIM Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee and the experts who presented today,” said Chairman Reed. “We stand ready to help American companies export their outstanding goods and services to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including exports that make a positive difference with issues related to protecting national security, feeding an ever-growing population, and reducing the prevalence and incidence of non-communicable disease – or NCDs.”

As part of the bipartisan reauthorization, Congress directed EXIM to establish a “Program on China and Transformational Exports,” with a goal of reserving 20 percent of EXIM’s total financing authority for exports that compete directly with China and transformational exports in areas including: artificial intelligence; biotechnology; biomedical sciences; wireless communications equipment, including 5G; quantum computing; renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage; semiconductor and semiconductor machinery manufacturing; emerging financial technologies; and water treatment and sanitation.

“With its mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating U.S. exports, EXIM can help increase U.S. engagement in the emerging region of sub-Saharan Africa,” said committee member and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who chairs the SAAC subcommittee on transformational exports to Africa. “By supporting trade and investment in critical areas such as information and communications technology, health care, and agriculture, EXIM can help foster mutually beneficial relationships.”

The committee heard presentations about how EXIM can advance exports in three key sectors, which can, in turn, be supported through the program for transformational exports:

  • On information and communications technology (ICT), the committee heard from Global Good Net Works Director and Founder Frank McCosker and EXIM Business Development Officer Reza Nikfarjam. “There are great opportunities for EXIM to work in strategic partnership with the ICT Industry and U.S. development agencies to support the rapid transformation of the African ICT markets,” said Director McCosker. “The telecommunications sector, in particular, is a driving force providing innovative products and services to unlock development opportunities, with notable success in mobile payment systems and TV white spaces.”
  • On health care, the committee heard from University of Utah Global Health Director Juan Carlos Negrette and EXIM Vice President of Global Infrastructure Annette Maresh, who discussed how developing long-term relationships and exchanging knowledge in the health-care sector can lead to positive economic outcomes.
  • On agriculture, the committee heard from Corteva Agriscience Global Agriculture Development Leader Jennifer Billings and EXIM Vice President of Export Credit Insurance Amy Shinkman. “Corteva Agriscience looks forward to partnering with EXIM to enrich the lives of farmers and grow our business in Africa and globally,” said Ms. Billings.

“Congress has given EXIM explicit direction to focus on supporting the export of American goods and services to sub-Saharan Africa and more recently directed this agency to lean in on industries including biotechnology, renewable energy, and biomedical sciences,” said EXIM Board Member Judith D. Pryor. “I appreciated hearing from experts in these fields today and the discussion that followed about potential opportunities in the region. I look forward to hearing the committee’s recommendations on how EXIM can expand its financing for American exporters of the goods and services needed to support sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Over the past decade, EXIM has authorized nearly $12.4 billion on behalf of U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, and we expect support for this vital region to continue growing,” said EXIM Board Member Spencer Bachus III. “Since May 2019, when a quorum was restored to our board of directors, EXIM has authorized 39 deals to sub-Saharan Africa, totaling more than $5 billion.”

Members of the Sub-Saharan Advisory Committee advise the EXIM Board of Directors “on the development and implementation of policies and programs” designed to promote EXIM’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa. Daniel Runde, Senior Vice President, William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis, and Director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), chairs the committee.

ABOUT EXIM:

EXIM is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports American jobs by providing competitive and necessary export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. goods and services. A robust EXIM can level the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive support from their governments. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth by helping to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in exporting businesses and their supply chains across the United States. In recent years, approximately 90 percent of the total number of the agency’s authorizations has directly supported small businesses. Since 1992, EXIM has generated more than $9 billion for the U.S. Treasury for repayment of U.S. debt.

For more information about EXIM, please visit www.exim.gov.