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Press Release

December 7, 2000




MIAMI, Florida – Development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean will benefit from a memorandum of understanding for a $50 million line of credit signed today between First Union National Bank and the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development. These programs will address issues of education, information technology and poverty alleviation.

The memorandum, signed during the 24th Annual Miami Conference on the Caribbean and Latin America, is the first example of the type of private-public sector partnerships that will be promoted by the new IACD. The agency was established by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in November 1999 to give strong impetus to the technical cooperation and training programs necessary to accelerate Latin American and Caribbean development.

"This relationship with the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development is an important addition to First Union’s activities with many multilateral institutions and clearly complements our regional business in the OAS member states." stated Edmund S. Muskie, Jr., Managing Director for First Union’s Global Government Banking Division in Washington, D.C.

First Union, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the fifth largest bank in the United States. One of the first banks to bridge the gap between traditional banking and investment banking and asset management, the bank has offices in 31 countries and provides a broad array of products to serve individuals, financial institutions, corporations and sovereign governments.

"This signing re-emphasizes First Union’s commitment to work with our extensive network of correspondent banking partners – not to compete with them – to meet the needs of the region" said Carlos A. Perez, Managing Director for First Union’s America’s Group in Miami.

"We intend to take advantage of the strong capacity and best practices that have been developed over the last decade in many countries of the Americas and put them to work for the development of other less developed nations of the hemisphere," stated L. Ronald Scheman, Director General of the IACD. "It is essential to accelerate the pace of development of the hemisphere, which is entirely too slow to meet the demands for consolidating democracy and alleviating poverty."

Among the initial priorities for the use of the loan facility will be working with the Chilean government to expand its Internet-based computer systems; setting up rural solar villages in the Americas for connection to the Internet; and training primary school teachers to use the latest information technologies in their classrooms.

"This agreement marks an important step for the OAS as we seek new ways to help meet some of the urgent needs in our region," said OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria. "Through the OAS Inter-American Agency, we hope to establish more such partnerships with the private sector that will enable us to supplement our social development efforts."