German gov't vows to boost export guarantees for SMEs operating in Africa

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The German federal government on Thursday vowed to improve export guarantees offered to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) operating in Africa.

Speaking in Berlin, Thomas Bareiss, secretary of state in the economy ministry, explained that closer economic ties between Germany and African nations were a priority of chancellor Angela Merkel's (CDU) governing cabinet.

"Today we will send a signal to Africa as well as in support of the German Mittelstand sector: We are expanding our guarantees for African exports," Bareiss told press.

The term "Mittelstand" is commonly used in Germany to denote SMEs, but also has additional qualitative connotations such as family-ownership, long-term outlook, social responsibility and strong regional ties. The sector is often considered to constitute the backbone of the export-oriented German economy.

Specifically, the government now wants to lower the insurance excess shouldered by these companies or the banks they work with in international trade between Germany and African states. The new rulings will apply to countries which have joined a G20 initiative for more international investment and were SMEs previously faced relatively steep deductible rates of up to five percent.

Amongst others, German exporters operating in the African markets of Cote D'Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda will benefit from the expansion of government guarantees. 

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