India offers lifeline to Zambia, Swaziland

India flagged-off the construction of the $289 million Lusaka city road expansion to support Zambia’s decongestion project. The India government has also donated $1 million to Swaziland’s disaster management agency, as per news records.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled the support to the southern African states in their respective capitals on the second and final legs of his three-nation Africa tour. Kovind arrived in Zambia on Tuesday from Swaziland, which he visited after a tour of Equatorial Guinea.

“The construction of the $289m Lusaka city decongestion project is set to start on Thursday,’’ as per news records. The works will see the construction, rehabilitation and widening the Lusaka roads to include dedicated lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

The contractor, Afcons Infrastructure Limited of India, will improve nine junctions along with four flyover bridges. The 120km work will take 36 months. President Edgar Lungu’s government initiated a nationwide infrastructure drive. Afcons Infrastructure Limited managing director Srivinasan Paramasivan said the company will give 20 percent of works to decongest Lusaka to local contractors as per government policy. President Kovind held talks with President Lungu and paid a courtesy call on first President Kenneth Kaunda.

In Swaziland, the Indian leader unveiled the $1 million donations in his address to the National Assembly. The Indian Business World confirmed the donation, adding that President Kovind also expressed commitment to development partnership to create local capacities across Africa.

“To support the Swaziland National Disaster Management Agency, we have decided to donate $1m as well as food grains,” the Indian President was quoted as saying. India is the main source of generic drugs including antiretrovirals.

Kovind was further quoted saying Swaziland had made remarkable progress in slowing the spread of HIV. Swaziland, according to Unicef, has the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rate in the world.

Source: Africareview

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