ZAMBIA’S Ministry of Transport & Communications announced on November 22 that agreement had been reached for Swedish consultants to take over the management of Zambia Railways for two years, in order to rescue the struggling company and allow bulk freight including export copper traffic to be switched back from road to rail. The consultants are expected to help the railways overcome recent operational problems and train a new generation of Zambian management able to take control from 1999.

Ministry spokesman Robert Makuma said that the technical assistance package had been agreed by the Zambian government, subject to the finance ministry allocating the local funding element. The total cost is put at 12bn kwacha, of which one-third will come as aid from the Swedish government. o