Ambassador Jackson Statements
July 16, 2012 | 9:00 AM
U.S. EX-IM Bank – Government of Cameroon
Loan Agreement Signing
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson
Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Your Excellency, the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development,
Your Excellency, the Minister-Delegate in Charge of Defense,
Representatives of Hoffman International,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to join you today for the signing of this very important loan agreement between the Government of the Republic of Cameroon and the U.S. Export-Import Bank, known as Ex-Im Bank. Permit me to quote U.S. President Barack Obama, when I say that “this is a new moment of great promise” for Cameroon. This agreement exemplifies the trend of expanding U.S.-Cameroon bilateral trade and investments.
Today we witness a success story contributing to this trade momentum. Hoffman International, a New Jersey-based construction equipment company, is using financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to sell the Government of Cameroon $47 million worth of cranes, excavators, and other construction machinery. Hoffman International is a third-generation construction equipment company with deep ties to the New York metropolitan area. It currently exports to 80 countries, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Russia. Its total export sales represent 20% of its $80 million in business as a major dealer and distributor of large U.S. manufactured equipment.
I am convinced that this construction equipment will enable the Cameroon to upgrade its infrastructure, which has been recognized by President Biya under his “Great Accomplishments” as a precursor to the development of this beautiful country.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the overseas sales of U.S. goods and services. Over the last 75 years, the Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $400 billion in U.S. exports. Among other services, it makes loans to foreign purchasers of U.S. goods and services, like the one we are witnessing today. The Ex-Im Bank does not compete with commercial lenders, but it assumes the risks they cannot or will not accept. Since 2002, the Ex-Im Bank has authorized $4 billion to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa. In Fiscal Year 2011, Ex-Im Bank surpassed the $1 billion authorizations mark for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa, with almost $1.4 billion approved to support U.S. exports to the region. The Bank anticipates another strong year this year.
As I mentioned earlier, trade between the U.S. and Cameroon, like the rest of Africa, is on the rise. Last year, overall bilateral trade increased 26 percent to $538 million (269 billion CFA francs). This increase in trade is important because trade will not only enable Cameroon to improve its infrastructure but will create jobs both in Cameroon and the United States. Therefore, the signing of this loan agreement benefits both of our countries.
Thank you for your attention.