The Export-Import Bank of the United States and Standard Chartered Export Finance Ltd. (SCEFL) of London will join forces to finance up to $100 million in U.S. exports to Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Under the agreement, SCEFL will lend U.S. dollars, through Ex-Im bank's fixed-rate Intermediary Loan program, to private and public African buyers of U.S. manufactured equipment and services.

"By equipment, I mean machine tools, construction and agricultural equipment, like tractors, trucks and factory machines. These are large items that may need a five-year loan, and should help develop these countries," said Arthur Pilzer, deputy vice president of Ex-Im bank's Africa/Middle East division.

SCEFL is a recently formed subsidiary of Standard Chartered PLC that was created to provide export financing services for that bank's network of 2,000 affiliated companies and offices worldwide. The Export-Import Bank is the U.S. government agency that assists export sales of U.S. goods and services.

SCEFL approached Ex-Im bank looking for a way to finance U.S exports in African countries. Ex-Im bank and Standard Chartered struck a deal under which SCEFL will guarantee all commercial risks and Ex-Im bank bank will guarantee all political risks of the loans.

"British and French exporters have dominated the African markets since the colonial days," said Pilzer. Now, through Ex-Im bank's "buy American and get a loan" deal, U.S exporters have a way to penetrate these markets.

Ex-Im bank will require SCEFL to extend a U.S. dollar loan to the African buyer at the OECD minimum fixed rate of 7.4 percent, or, if the buyer prefers, at a London interbank offering rate-based floating rate.

The Ex-Im bank-SCEFL credit and guarantee facility will be available for one year. Individual transactions of $50,000 to $5 million may receive 85 percent financing under the facility, to be repaid in four to 10 semiannual installments.

Ex-Im bank will make available a total of $85 million in loan/guarantee support: $30 million in Ghana, $20 million in Kenya, $20 milllion in Zimbabwe and $15 million in Cameroon.