Johannesburg - American companies are
starting to wake up to huge investment opportunities in Africa, the
chairman of the US Export Import bank, Fred Hochberg said here on
Hochberg, in South African as part of a
business delegation alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
said more US companies must invest in the "rich and deep market"
"Many US companies didn't see the
need to have an ambitious export profile for many years, but I think
there's more of a waking up (to) opportunities here in sub-Saharan
Africa," he told reporters.
Hochberg identified potential sectors
of investment as energy, aircraft, mining, medical and small
This week, Exim Bank unveiled a loan
worth $2bn to finance clean energy in South Africa.
South Africa is the leading US export
market on the continent, taking in more than $7bn worth of goods and
services in 2011, 30% more than the previous year.
Hochberg said that last year the Exim
Bank signed a memorandum of understanding for the expansion of the
energy and agriculture sectors in power-starved Nigeria.
"There has been some interest that
is beginning to take some hold... high levels of interest there"
in Nigeria, he told reporters.
The bank loans have more than doubled
from $14bn in 2009 to $33bn last year, mainly in long term and
expensive projects where local banks are uncomfortable.
Power is its critical target area, as
well as mining and transport. It has provided finance to Ethiopia
Airlines, Kenya Airways, Angola's TAAG and British Airways' South
African outfit Comair.
Hochberg will be in Mozambique on
Thursday, a country poised to become a major energy player with huge
offshore gas finds over the past year.
*Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook and