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China in Africa: The Real Story

US Eximbank $5 Billion Loan ... for Saudi Arabia

Deborah Brautigam

US companies active in Africa complain that they can't get support from the US government's official export credit agency, US Exim Bank, the way Chinese exporters and firms appear to get support from China Eximbank. Well, now I see why. While China Eximbank has been lining up billions for Chinese firms to get business in some of Africa's oil rich countries (Angola, Sudan), the US Exim Bank was apparently arranging a $5 billion loan for a joint venture between US firm Dow Chemicals and Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company. (We know the Chinese provide finance with no strings attached. I wonder what kind of governance conditions we put on our mega-loans to this authoritarian dictatorship?  I also suppose this wasn't viewed as "giving 'aid' to get access to oil" on our part?)  With Saudi Arabia soaking up $5 billion, it's no wonder US exporters had to make due with far less  when they wanted to do business in Africa.  US Exim Bank provided only $1.4 billion for all of Africa in 2011.