US EXIM Bank, UBA sign deal to expand US-Africa trade

Last July, the United States government noted that U.S. non-petroleum imports from Africa increased by 46 percent and U.S. goods exports to Africa increased by 59 percent since 2009, and called the statistics evidence of growing trade ties between the United States and Africa. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) and the Nigeria headquartered United Bank for Africa (UBA) wants this to continue and even improve, hence the signing of an agreement at the World Economic Forum Africa (WEF) going on in Kigali.

“EXIM Bank is proud to build on its decade’s long commitment to financing American exports to sub-Saharan Africa,” said Fred P. Hochberg Chairman and President of the EXIM Bank.

“This memorandum signals to American exporters and African businesses alike that there are many more promising opportunities to work together, and EXIM stands ready to provide the financing needed to turn more of those opportunities into realities,” Hochberg added.

Phillip Oduoza, CEO and Group Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) signed the deal on behalf of the UBA and was joined by Uzoka Kennedy, Deputy Managing Director and Group Managing Director Designate, UBA and Sola Yomi-Ajayi, Group Head, Financial Institutions and International Organizations, UBA.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a statement of general intent between EXIM Bank and UBA to promote the availability of EXIM financing of up to $100 million in the region. The two banks will work together to share information and develop export-financing opportunities in key sectors including commodities, agriculture and food products, spare parts, and large and small equipment purchases, a joint statement by EXIM Bank and UBA said.

Under the MoU, the U.S. federal agency and UBA will explore options for offering a range of financing solutions for American exporters and African buyers, including short and medium-term financing programs that allow for flexible repayment terms and competitive insurance policies guaranteed by EXIM.

Since 2009, EXIM has provided more than $6 billion in financing for transactions across sub-Saharan Africa. For the fiscal year ending in 2014, the Bank supported $2.05 billion in transactions in more than 20 sub-Saharan African countries.