The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. is eager to help pair African companies interested in purchasing technology infrastructure equipment in the U.S. with banks interested in financing such ventures, John Richter, the Ex-Im Bank’s regional director for Africa, told GlobalFax in an interview, Nov. 30.

Nigeria, for example, recently sold a portion of its government-run telecommunications company and now must expand capacity by $900 million worth of equipment, he said.

Mr. Richter also pointed to the recent licensing of Nigeria’s national cellular systems to private companies in South Africa and Zimbabwe as an opportunity for U.S. firms.  Both operators will now need equipment to expand capacity by 400,000 lines in the first year, providing a very real market for U.S. equipment suppliers, he said.

“We want to see these African companies procure in North America, and if they do, we are interested in finding someone (in the U.S.) who will secure them financing over five years, a term often not available from African financial institutions,” said Mr. Richter.

Mr. Richter also encouraged additional partnerships, similar to the agreement signed recently between the government of Nigeria and Georgia Power, that will provide technical expertise to the power industry in that country.

The Ex-Im Bank’s main purpose is to provide insurance and financing guarantees to U.S. exporters and lenders extending credit to buyers in Africa and other parts of the world, he added.

Mr. Richter was in Atlanta to address attendees of the Southern Center for International Studies’ Africa Summit 2001, held Nov. 30 at the Sheraton Colony Square in Midtown.

Contact Mr. Richter at Visit for information on specific programs.