Home | News    Monday 7 June 2004

Africa’s oil import bill to soar-Sudan’s Bashir

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KAMPALA, June 7 (Reuters) - Oil imports to East and southern Africa’s COMESA trade bloc are set to rocket to $15 billion this year as world oil prices hit record highs, Sudan’s president Omar el Bashir said on Monday.

Bashir, outgoing chairman of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), said the 2004 oil bill for the group’s 20 member states had shot up from $9 billion in 2003.

"This will have far-reaching negative effects on our economies," he told delegates at the organisation’s annual summit in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

"Coupled with low commodity prices, this will increase some COMESA region countries’ debt stock," he said. "They will now have to borrow more just to service their current debts."

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni took over from Bashir as COMESA chairman at the opening of Monday’s meeting, which attracted several heads of state and regional officials.

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