COMESA mulls 1 bln USD infrastructure fund

Wednesday September 26 2012

By Xinhua

Africa's largest trading bloc is in the process of raising at least 1 billion U. S. dollars for infrastructure development, the Post of Zambia reported on Wednesday.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says the funds to be raised would help meet infrastructure challenges faced by countries in the economic bloc, which contributes to increasing costs of doing business."We are currently in a process of putting together our COMESA Infrastructure Fund. PriceWaterhouse Coopers, SNR Denton are putting together the first chunk which will be 1 billion dollars," Sindiso Ngwenya, the organization's secretary general was quoted as saying by the paper.

The regional bloc has already signed contracts with financial and legal advisors to help raise the funds while PriceWaterhouse Coopers are the lead financial advisors and SNR Denton as the legal advisors.

According to Ngwenya, the high cost of doing business in the region is due to logistical costs, with poor infrastructure accounting for as much as over 50 percent of such spending.Poor infrastructure, he said, remains one of the challenges countries not only in COMESA but Africa as a whole continue grappling with.