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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Zambia truck drivers assured of Safety by South African security

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Wednesday assured Zambia on the safety of truck travelers traveling to that country following increased attacks.

Six trucks from Zambia were burnt in two separate incidents in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces in recent weeks, resulting in Zambia authorities raising concerns on the safety of its citizens in South Africa and asking the authorities to do more to quell the attacks.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba said South African authorities have assured the truck drivers and transporters traveling to that country of safety.

The Zambian envoy said the assurance was made during a meeting he held with South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, according to a statement released by the Zambian embassy.

Safety measures have been put in place at highways, borders while toll plazas have been secured and have now been given a higher security presence, he added.

Mwamba further said roads and highways international truck drivers use will also benefit from increased police patrols, adding that suspects who burnt Zambian trucks in both incidents have been arrested and arraigned before courts.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zambian airline to launch Harare flights in July

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s airline Proflight announced Wednesday that it will launch a new service between Zimbabwe’s capital Harare and Zambia’s capital Lusaka in July, its third international route as it expands its regional footprint.

In a statement to Xinhua, the airline said the Lusaka-Harare route, staring on July 9, will not only boost trade and tourism between the neighboring countries but also throughout the entire southern and central African region.

"Proflight is very happy and proud to launch the Lusaka-Harare route to provide easier access to travelers across southern African states," the airline’s director of government and industry affairs Philip Lemba said.

He said the new route will increase economic trade and development for various industries for both Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Lemba said Proflight was not worried that the Harare-Lusaka route was well served by international airlines and would commence with an early morning service four times per week.

The early morning service time will be convenient for the business travelers, he said.

Proflight currently flies from its base in Lusaka through regional routes to Lilongwe in Malawi and Durban in South Africa.

Zimbabwe has in recent years witnessed an interest from various airlines that are keen to fly into the country, especially after the completion of the upgrading of Victoria Falls International Airport by a Chinese firm in 2016.

Last week, the Zimbabwe government opened talks with one of the largest airlines in Asia, Qatar Airways, to open a new route between Harare and Doha, Qatar’s capital.

The discussion came up at a meeting between Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani during the Zimbabwean leader’s official visit to the Asian country.
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Zambia and Saudi Arabia agree to cement co-operation

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic and political consultations.

The memorandum of understanding will allow the two countries to have practical cooperation and close coordination on various bilateral and internal issues as well as provide a mechanism to review outstanding agreements between the two countries.

Zambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji, who is in Saudi Arabia signed on behalf of the southern African nation while his counterpart Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir signed on behalf of his country, according to a statement released by the foreign affairs ministry.

The two ministers, who held bilateral talks, committed themselves to do everything possible in advancing bilateral ties in order to build strong economic partnerships and strategic alliances.

The Zambian minister said the signing of the memorandum of understanding is a demonstration of the strong bonds of friendship and genuine strategic partnership between the two countries.

The memorandum of understanding also demonstrates the deliberate efforts made by the two countries to further consolidate their bilateral relations as well as enhance the Africa-Saudi Arabia relations, he added.
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Zambia central bank maintains key lending rate

LUSAKA Zambia(Xinhua) -- Zambia’s central bank on Wednesday maintained its key lending rate at 9.75 percent due to a fragile economic growth evidenced by subdued credit growth to private enterprises.

The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) said it decided to maintain the monetary policy rate as it felt it was appropriate to do so and that this was in line with the projections indicating that inflation will remain within the 6-8 percent target range.

The central bank has also decided to maintain the statutory reserve ratio at 5 percent.

Denny Kalyalya, Governor of the Central Bank, said the bank also considered the need to strengthen the resilience of the financial sector to domestic and external shocks, adding that although real sectors indicate a steady pickup in annual economic growth, growth remains fragile.

He said the central bank decided to maintain the two instruments to help induce the lowering of high interest rates and boost economic growth.

According to the central bank chief, projections indicate that inflation will rise above 7 percent during the second and third quarters of 2018 but decline thereafter towards the lower bound of the 6-8 percent target range.

He attributed the fragility in the economy to weak credit growth to the private sector, mainly driven by huge than programmed budget deficits, high lending rates and rising non-performing loans.

"The Bank will continue to closely monitor domestic and external sector developments and stand ready to implement appropriate measures to maintain price and financial system stability, and to support economic growth," he told reporters during a press briefing.

Meanwhile, the central bank chief revealed that the country’s preliminary fiscal deficit of 6.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was likely to be revised upwards in the wake of a recent debt sustainability analysis.

He said the 2018 budget estimates are also expected to undergo some revisions, adding that higher than programmed fiscal outcomes in 2018 would heighten risks to macroeconomic stability.
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Zambia sees demand for government securities rising in first quarter

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia saw demand for government securities rising in the first quarter of 2018, figures released by its central bank on Wednesday showed.

According to the figures, subscription rates for treasury bills and government bonds averaged 92.9 percent and 144.2 percent, up from 81.9 percent and 108.8 percent, respectively.

The central bank attributed the increase to mainly higher participation of non-resident investors on account of attractive yield rates and relative stability in the exchange rate.

"Resident investors continued to be the major holders of government securities. However, non-resident investors’ holdings of government securities continued to increase, albeit at a slower pace," Denny Kalyalya, the governor of the central bank told reporters during a press briefing.

He however said longer tenors remained the non-resident investors’ preferred securities due to their relatively higher real yield rates, adding that this also signals their confidence in Zambia’s growth prospects.

           

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