The American government’s powerful finance arm, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has introduced a raft of measures designed to provide support and liquidity for the country’s significant number of exporting companies. Given EXIM Bank’s historic $5 billion investment in Mozambique LNG – its largest ever committed to any project – towards the end of last year, this will offer a financial lifeline for the growing commercial relationship between African countries and the United States.
In 2019, the current U.S. Administration launched its Prosper Africa initiative aiming to reverse America’s eroding ground in African markets by providing technical assistance for U.S. and African companies in order to double two-way trade and investment. It includes a special focus on transparent markets and private enterprise as the foundations of economic growth and job creation. Like much global trade currently, EXIM dependents are seeing disruption to their supply chains which EXIM Bank aims to mitigate:
“On March 12th, in response to the current situation, EXIM announced initial relief measures for U.S. exporters and financial institutions, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility. These measures are in place for an initial period of 30 days, with the possibility of further extension at EXIM’s discretion, and designed to allow business owners to focus their attention on the health of their employees, without worry of meeting EXIM’s deadlines”, said President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed.
She added, “EXIM is aware that in the months following the COVID-19 outbreak, exporting will be a significant challenge for many of our nation’s businesses, particularly America’s small business. We are working tirelessly to ensure our nation has the proper programs in place to provide U.S. exporters with the financing and other products necessary to export ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ products in the future.”
EXIM’s board of directors affirmed its support of the following temporary EXIM programmes to provide relief to U.S. businesses and their buyers negatively impacted by COVID-19:
• Bridge Financing Program
• Pre-Delivery / Pre-Export Financing Program
• Supply Chain Financing Guarantee Program
• Working Capital Guarantee Program
The four EXIM programmes will assist U.S. companies who supply vital equipment and machinery to Africa’s oil & gas and natural resources industries, safeguarding the growth in commercial relationships heralded by the Prosper Africa initiative.
“Any timely action EXIM can take to provide relief to U.S. manufacturers, and businesses both large and small, may very well help keep American workers on the payroll,” said EXIM Board Member Judith D. Pryor. “These measures are designed to provide temporary relief to those businesses that have been and will continue to be, the engines of our economic growth.”