The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim) is looking to boost US exports to Angola, having entered a new partnership with the African country’s ministry of finance.
Under a newly-signed memorandum of understanding, the two parties have committed to exchange information on business opportunities to boost the procurement of US goods and services by state-owned and private sector companies in Angola.
The parties will focus on sectors such as energy, oil and gas development, infrastructure, railway and road transportation, supply chain infrastructure, environmental projects, agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation, and telecommunications.
US Exim has also agreed to provide medium and long-term guarantees or loans of up to US$4bn to support US exports to Angola. The bank will work with Angola’s ministry of finance to qualify such projects for approval.
“We anticipate that the US Exim-backed financing to follow from this agreement will support exporter and supply chain jobs in multiple industries across the US and also foster job creation in Angola,” says Jeffrey Gerrish, acting chairman and president of US Exim.
Nina Fite, US ambassador to Angola, adds that the partnership will support the Angolan government’s economic diversification goals. The country’s economy has been severely hit by falling commodity prices over the last few years. At the same time, Angola’s banks are finding it difficult to secure foreign currency to finance the import of critical essential products and capital goods, and to drive the diversification agenda.
US Exim notes in a statement that the agreement is part of US President Donald Trump’s ‘Prosper Africa’ initiative, which was launched in December 2018 to “advance American and African prosperity”. The strategy is widely seen as Trump’s attempt to further US business interests and counter growing Chinese influence on the continent.
Currently, many African countries, including Angola, enjoy preferential access to the US market through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The 17-year-old unilateral trade preference programme, which was renewed in 2015 for an additional 10 years, provides duty-free market access to the US for 39 qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries.