African leaders were meeting yesterday to try to push ahead with a plan to invest US$7 billion in transport links between southern and central Africa.
Zambian President Rupiah Banda, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni were due to meet in Lusaka yesterday to lure funding for the North-South Corridor project aimed at boosting trade flows and improving economic growth. WTO Secretary -General Pascal Lamy was also due to attend the talks, the meeting’s agenda showed.
“The program is ready,” John Donovan, program manager of the South African-based Regional Trade Facilitation Program, said in an interview in Lusaka on Sunday. “Work can start now if the funding is available.”
Southern Africa needs US$800 million for the rehabilitation of rail-wagons, locomotives and sections of railway in Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, according to the North-South Corridor, while more than US$450 million is needed to upgrade the main Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania. The project intends to revamp 8,646km of highway, halve waiting times at border posts and cut the cost of moving goods by US$50 million a year.
The corridor project, a pilot under the Aid for Trade program, will prioritize routes from the Dar es Salaam port with the Copperbelt in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and routes from the Copperbelt to South Africa’s ports, its Web site said.
The project will seek aid, loans or investment and encourage the full or partial sale of state-owned companies to private investors, Donovan said. It will start an investment fund for regional infrastructure, work to harmonize customs procedures between countries and aim to slash the length of time it takes to cross borders at a cost of US$20.4 million over the next five years, he said.
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth