FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 1999
Ken Murphy (202) 565-3200
Atlanta - Fourteen sub-Saharan Africa countries, all part of the Southern Africa Development Community, have agreed to cooperate with each other to improve transportation infrastructure, expand commercial trade relations and promote tourism with the United States under a memorandum of cooperation signed with the Export-Import Bank of the United States and US Department of Transportation.
The agreement was signed by Export-Import Bank of the United States Chairman James A. Harmon and US Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater with the Transportation Ministers of the government of Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The memorandum of cooperation signifies Ex-Im Bank`s commitment to expanding US trade with sub-Saharan Africa and our desire to produce economic benefits for communities in the United States and each of the fourteen countries participating in this agreement. Ex-Im Bank Chairman Harmon said.
Ex-Im Bank`s efforts to support the sale of US exports to sub-Saharan Africa is seeing strong results this year. Nearly $520 million in financing has been approved in Fiscal Year 1999, which is more than 10 times the amount of financing the region received in FY 1998.
In August 1999, Ex-Im Bank also 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. Under this program, 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.