As Southern Africa braces for cyclones and more heavy rains, economic analysts warn that the floods already engulfing the region are likely to impact badly on inflation and other fundamental economic indicators. "Naturally, the floods will have an effect," says Oliver Saasa, a consultant economics professor at the University of Zambia.
Zambia has ended talks with a unit of Standard Bank after failing to agree conditions for a $1,2-billion oil-financing deal, Energy Minister Kenneth Konga said on Monday. Konga said negotiations with Stanbic Bank Zambia, a subsidiary of Standard Bank, had ended and the government would soon start talks with another bank.
Top government officials in Southern Africa began meeting on Monday to find ways of addressing trade barriers, such as scrapping visa requirements, which are said to hinder regional integration. Experts from finance ministries in the region are expected to find solutions to problems affecting the free movement of people and goods.
Zambia has introduced new legislation banning smoking in public places which could see offenders face up to two years in jail. Local Government Minister Sylvia Masebo said the new statutory instrument, which has been gazetted, bans smoking in public places with immediate effect.
The United States' top diplomat for Africa said on Sunday any national unity government in Zimbabwe should be headed by opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who Washington believes won a March 29 election. Election officials said they hoped to compile statistics from the presidential election by Monday for verification by the candidates.
A top United States official urged African leaders on Sunday to put pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to release the results of the presidential election, insisting the opposition had won. The Southern Africa Development Community "should ensure that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission releases the results of the elections," said US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders called on Sunday for the rapid release of results from Zimbabwe's election after a two-week delay that has raised fears of violence. A 13-hour summit in Lusaka also called on President Robert Mugabe to ensure that a possible run-off presidential vote be held "in a secure environment".
An emergency summit of Southern African leaders on Zimbabwe's post-election crisis opened on Saturday with a plea from its chairperson not to turn a blind eye, but President Robert Mugabe stayed away. Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa told Southern African Development Community leaders that doing nothing was not an option.