The Common Market for Eastern And Southern Africa (COMESA) has struck a deal with Anderberg-Ericsson Consortium of Mauritius as the strategic equity partner for the regional Communication Telecommunication Project (COMTEL), an official confirmed last week.

COMESA Public Relations Officer Mweusi Karake said that Anderberg-Ericsson was selected at an interim board meeting held in Lusaka in March this year. Karake said that the company was considered the best option among two others on the basis of its ability to mobilize resources, management of the project and technology.

"Negotiations to finalize the deal have began with the company to enable COMESA conduct a duo diligence exercise on the project," he said. The exercise will ascertain key factors before the consortium can commit itself to investing in the project. Karake however stressed that negotiations are to be completed in good time to facilitate the implementation of the project.

The COMTEL project has been established in order to facilitate increased trade relations within the eastern and southern African region. About ten National Telecommunications Operators (NTOs) out of 19 COMESA member countries have so far appended their signatures to the COMTEL Investment Company shareholders agreement.

Xinhua News Agency