The Export-Import Bank of the US (US Exim) has renewed its three-year short-term Africa initiative (STAI) to March 31, 2015

The initiative provides export credit insurance for US exporters selling to 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa up to a limit of US$100mn.

The bank is also considering expanding the programme to include a further three Sub-Saharan African countries, including Cameroon, Ethiopia and Tanzania. A decision will be agreed by May, subject to risk-assessment upgrades, the bank says.

“Sub-Saharan Africa offers great, untapped potential for US companies looking to grow by increasing their foreign sales.

Through US Exim’s initiative, the US government is opening markets throughout this region,” says US Exim chairman and president Fred Hochberg. “We encourage more exporters to enter these markets now to establish a presence that can lead to follow-on business for years to come.”

Hochberg says that the financing risks of many Sub-Saharan markets have improved significantly, along with repayments.

“Since 2002, US Exim has authorised US$4bn to support US exports to Sub-Saharan Africa, and we’ve netted more than US$150mn in fees. US Exim’s net loss rate in the region is 2%, with our fees earning 2.5 times more than the claims we’ve received. This is a very solid repayment record,” Hochberg adds.

In 2011, US Exim surpassed the US$1bn authorisations mark for the first time in Sub-Saharan Africa, with almost US$1.4bn approved to support US exports to the region. The bank anticipates another year of strong authorisations in 2012.