Friday, January 27, 2012

Raila appeals for infrastructure investments

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during a meeting on development initiatives in Africa by the Melinda Gates Foundation at Davos Congress Centre in Switzerland, Thursday.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga made a strong appeal for investment in infrastructure to facilitate trade and economic integration as a way out of the grinding poverty in Africa.
Addressing a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday Raila said absence of trans-continental and regional road networks had made it difficult for Africa to trade with itself, forcing nearly all African countries to scramble for the same markets in Europe and other parts of the world.
The PM was speaking at a panel on "Transition to Transformation in Africa" that included Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.
It was chaired by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Raila said investment in social infrastructure was also necessary, saying concentration of wealth in the hands of a few while the majority wallow in poverty was counterproductive and inhibited progress.
He called for change of focus from trading in commodities to investment in value addition leading to export of finished products.
Raila said Kenya was investing heavily in infrastructure and was modernising its rail network, with the involvement of neighbouring nations out of a recognition that the future lay in increased intercontinental trade.
He lauded the new vigour to build the Great North Road that was first touted by Cecil Rhodes in the colonial era. He also praised efforts by Tanzania and its neighbours to develop a railway line from the port of Dar es Salaam to southern Africa.
The Standard

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