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Kibaki leaves for Zambia

NAIROBI, Kenya April 5 – President Mwai Kibaki is expected to make a three-day official visit to Zambia to attend a regional infrastructure meeting organised by three African economic blocs.

 A statement from President Press Service said the President will leave the country on Sunday for the South African state, where he will attend the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) North-South Corridor High Level Conference in Lusaka.

The conference is expected to discuss ways of raising funds aimed at building infrastructure within the region of the three trading blocks.

"In his capacity as the current chair of COMESA, President Kibaki is expected to highlight progress made in the region towards boosting infrastructure among COMESA countries," the statement said.

 Lack of infrastructure has been cited as the biggest impediment to intra-Africa trade and social network on the African continent.
 The three economic communities enjoy the backing of donors to launch a major new infrastructure initiative aimed at transforming Southern and East African trading opportunities.

 The British Department of International Development and other international agencies have offered a pilot Aid for Trade program, under which two priority economic corridors will be built to link the Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania to the Copper belt in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 COMESA has already established a special fund to develop regional infrastructure.

The region expects faster border crossings and improved railways and highways to broaden market access for local producers, especially in landlocked countries, thus promoting economic growth and investment.

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In addition to measures to upgrade infrastructure and simplify customs and regulatory procedures, EAC said last month that power supply and transmission will also be discussed for the 12 Southern African Power Pool members.

The projects and programs are estimated to cost one billion dollars over a period of 10 years.
The money is offered in grants and concessionary loans, and some from private investment.


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