India donates cash to Swaziland and Zambia

Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovind acknowledges greetings on arrival in Zambia on April 10, 2018 for a three-day state visit. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

India has donated $1 million to Swaziland's disaster management agency and pledged $289 million road expansion support to Zambia.

Indian President Shri 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.

President Kovind arrived in Zambia on Tuesday from Swaziland, which he visited after a tour of Equatorial Guinea.

Nine junctions

“The construction of the $289m Lusaka city decongestion project is set to start tomorrow [Thursday],” reported Zambian state radio.

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 per cent 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 donation in his address to the National Assembly.

Generic drugs

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 anti-retrovirals.

President 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.

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