Export-Import Bank Closure Would Hit US-Africa Trade, says GE Chief

General Electric’s (GE) co-chief executive Jeff Immelt has warned that trade ties between the US and Africa will be hit if the US Congress decides to close the Export-Import (Ex-Im) bank, the
Financial Times
reports.

Ex-Im provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help US private companies export goods overseas. Its main beneficiaries are companies such as Boeing and Caterpillar, but smaller exporters also receive financing.

Ex-Im faces closure if Congress does not renew its charter by the end of September.

According to the
FT
report, Immelt said the bank was crucial for US companies operating in Africa because it showed the government was prepared to have “some skin in the game”.

Closing Ex-Im down would mean that “we are basically making a statement as a country that we do not think that exports are important,” Immelt added.

GE also pledged to invest US$2bn in Africa by 2018, describing the continent as its “most promising growth region.” The group said that its investment would focus on developing the supply chain and training people, and infrastructure and sustainability initiatives.

Specific projects will include supplying gas turbines to help meet electricity demand in Algeria and in Nigeria’s state oil refinery, and a US$1bn rail investment in Angola.

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