Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda passes away

#Other Countries : Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda died on Friday at the age of 85 after a long battle with colon cancer, his son Andrew told AFP.

,he left, Andrew Banda told an AFP correspondent in Lusaka on Friday evening.

The southern African country’s fourth leader since independence from Britain served three years from 2008, a short tenure marked by economic development and corruption charges.

Banda was vice president when his predecessor Levi Mwanawasa died of a stroke that propelled him to the top of the country.

But despite overseeing massive economic development during his tenure in the 2011 election, the veteran diplomat faced defeat.

The economy of Zambia grew during Banda’s brief presidency, driven primarily by rising copper prices and a boom in Chinese investment.

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He continued the infrastructure work started under Mawanawasa, building much needed roads, hospitals and schools.

Zambia recorded a growth of 7.6% in 2011, up from 6.4% in the previous year, for which Banda took credit. He hoped that the economic boom would persuade voters to keep him in power.

However, most of the 17.9 million Zambians have not taken advantage of the mining and construction boom. Wealth accumulated in the hands of a few, while allegations of corruption surfaced, which tarnished their reputation.

In September 2011, he was largely defeated by opposition leader Michael Sata.

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