Mumbengegwi in Madagascar for Comesa ministeral meetings
Fidelis Munyoro: Chief Reporter
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi left Harare yesterday for Antananarivo, Madagascar, to attend Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ministerial meetings.The meetings are in preparation for the 19th comesa Heads of State and Government Summit to be held from October 18 to 19 under the theme: “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation”.
In statement last night, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Summit was expected to receive among other things, reports from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Justice.
“The meeting will discuss peace and security issues during which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs will consider the status of the peace and security situation in the region in preparation for the Summit,” reads the statement.
“The meeting will also deliberate on trade and customs issues namely; status on implementation of comesa Free Trade Area, Tripartite Free Trade Area, Update on Continental Free Trade Area, Economic Partnership Agreements and comesa Medium Term Strategic Plan.”
Zimbabwe is implementing a project funded by the Comesa Fund through the Regional Integration Support Mechanism meant to achieve deeper regional integration.
The country is also implementing energy, transport and agriculture projects under comesa. comesa is a free trade area with 20 member states stretching from Libya to Swaziland. It was formed in December 1994, replacing the Preferential Trade Area, which had existed since 1981.
Nine of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000 (Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe), with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004, the Comoros and Libya in 2006, and Seychelles in 2009.
comesa is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community. In 2008, comesa agreed to an expanded free-trade zone including members of two other African trade blocs, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (sadc). Comesa is also considering a common visa scheme to boost tourism.