Washington, DC – Over the past ten months, the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM) has reportedly authorized a record $1.7 billion in financing to support exports of American-made products to sub-Saharan Africa.
This record-setting surge “has not only empowered U.S. small businesses to sell their products in global markets, but has also supported more than 10,000 American jobs which contribute to strengthening the U.S. economy,” the trade bank said.
The announcement was made as EXIM President and CEO Fred Hochberg participated in the US-Africa Leaders Summit that recently convened in Washington, DC.
EXIM also said it will pledge $3 billion in financing to support US exports to sub-Saharan Africa over the next two fiscal years and that it had recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Angola “to strengthen collaboration on the financing of American-made exports” to the central African nation.
Two-thirds of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lacks electricity and earlier this month, the bank approved a loan guarantee for $17 million to support long-term financing by the West African Development Bank (BOAD) for the Azito Power project in Cote D’Ivoire.
Financing for steam turbines used in the Azito Power project will support 40 manufacturing and engineering jobs in Schenectady, New York, and Bangor, Maine, said EXIM. The project is part of a long-term strategy to strengthen the region’s power capacity and, in turn, help to position economies there for growth, it added.
Three Louisiana small businesses benefit from EXIM’s $43 million financing of a liftboat destined for Nigeria.
The “Bellator” liftboat is a self-propelled vessel, 150-foot long by 118-foot wide, that lifts and suspends equipment and personnel up to the level of an offshore drilling platform. About 300 employees of C.S. Liftboats, Inc., of Abbeville, Louisiana, together with Gulf Island Fabrications of Houma, Louisiana, will construct the high-tech vessel.
The Nigerian buyer also contracted for prefabricated liftboat-mounted modules for housing workers; these are built by Fiberglass Unlimited Inc. of Raceland, Louisiana. This is Nigeria’s first purchase of a new, US-made liftboat system.
According to the bank, Pennsylvania employees of GE Transportation “will benefit from the bank-supported export of GE’s locomotives with Pennsylvania-made engines and components to Transnet in South Africa.” In its recent transaction, EXIM authorized a $563.5 million loan guarantee to support financing for the sale of 293 locomotives being manufactured by GE Transportation.
EXIM “is firmly committed to equipping US exporters to realize the vast economic opportunities emerging throughout sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest-growing markets,” said EXIM’s Hochberg. “Each transaction the Bank supports creates jobs for local US businesses and strengthens our relationship with a region that has a strong prospect for long-term economic growth.”