African leaders tout $10bn infrastructure programme

African leaders are looking for private money as they try to launch an ambitious programme to improve trade links

African heads of state will today call for billions of private investment to improve trade links through eight African countries.

“The drive to free up the transport blockages could be worth tens of millions of pounds a year to African economies,” said the UK’s International Development Minister, Gareth Thomas, “and will strongly increase the incentives for more investment in the region.”

A conference in Lusaka today will outline “many opportunities for private investment” in the continent's infrastructure.

The presidents of Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa are among the speakers, along with EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton.

They'll promote schemes including better road and rail links routes across Africa worth $5bn-10bn. These could slash African companies' transport costs by around $50 million a year.