Monday, 13 April 2009
Cash for key African trade routes
Lusaka - More than $1bn (£675m) has been pledged by international donors for the upgrade of transport links across East and Southern Africa.
The North-South Corridor initiative aims to get goods to market faster and cheaper with improved infrastructure and more efficient border crossings.
The project aims to raise the living standard of millions of people.
The money will come from the World Bank, international development agencies and the private sector.
The UK has also committed £100m to the project at a conference in Zambia.
In order to speed up the transportation of goods from Tanzania, via Zambia to the ports of South Africa, the project will remove red tape and oversee the upgrade of 8000 km of road and 600 km of rail track.
The project aims to cut waiting times to two hours by streamlining procedures, she says, which should also reduce HIV transmission rates as truckers will have less time to spend with sex workers at the border.
The estimated total cost of improving transport and trade links in the region is $12bn to be spent over two decades.
The cooperation of eight African countries - Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa - is needed for the project to be successful.