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US Ex-Im Bank has approved a US$4mn medium-term guarantee to help a South Carolina company and 15 suppliers export a butane and natural gas storage and bottling system to a buyer in Mali in Northwest Africa.

Applied Engineering Systems (AES) of Johns Island is providing both equipment and engineering services that will enable people in Mali to use clean-burning gas instead of wood for cooking and heating. Maybank Logistics Management Systemof Charleston is procuring the equipment from AES, and suppliers include small and large businesses in South Carolina and North Carolina. The buyer and borrower is Societe N’Diaye St Frere (SARL) (SNF), in Bamako, Mali, and the lender is PNC Bankof Pittsburgh.

“This transaction demonstrates how a single export can benefit very different people in very different corners of the world,” Ex-Im Bank chairman Philip Merrill says. “Ex-Im Bank is pleased to support a transaction that involves workers at a number of US companies while at the same time improving the lives of the Malian people.”

Ex-Im Bank is playing a major role in expanding US-African trade. Last year, the bank helped finance a record US$700mn in US exports to sub-Saharan Africa.