Lusaka deal to boost landlocked Africa
Why is Africa poor? Here’s one reason – to ship copper from Zambia to a port in South Africa (the nearest) takes three weeks and costs $6,000 per week. The same journey in Europe takes 48 hours and costs a fraction of that.
Bureaucratic border crossing, rotten and rotting railways, disintegrating roads… They all speak to every negative force that could possibly be brought to bear on a nation’s trade.
This video by the Department for International Development
Hence the launch this week of a massive infrastructure project that will bring relief to central and southern African landlocked countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Congo, Rwanda and more.
Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, three presidents and key partners and donors signed off on a deal to rebuild and integrate roads and rail connections to speed up freight to the sea. And crucially, a new deal has won agreement to strip border controls to one shared border post, rendering a crossing that normally takes two days down to two hours.
It was my job to moderate this conference on behalf of DFID, one of four agencies that have summoned a total of $1.2bn to get it going. I learned much from the experience and will share it with you anon.