COMESA Summit good for Zambia
Published On June 8, 2023 » 1264 Views» By Times Reporter » Opinion
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ZAMBIA is hosting the 22nd Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) heads of State and Government Summit, an important event for the country to enhance its economic diplomacy agenda in the region and beyond.
Coming at the time the ‘New Dawn’ Government administration is stressing on the need to enhance economic diplomacy and look inwardly in terms of trade, the summit offers a timely opportunity for Zambia to show case what value it adds to the grouping.
Generally, the event presents an occasion for the member countries to demonstrate unity and solidarity in the face of challenges that individual member States have experienced over the last years.
Notably, some heads of State and government or their representatives are already in the country to participate in various engagements, which once again reminds other members the important role Zambia occupies in the region and continent as a whole.
Preceded by the meeting of ministers of Foreign Affairs which took place on Tuesday and the COMESA Business Forum, yesterday, the Summit is scheduled to officially take place in Lusaka today with, interesting, President Hakainde Hichilema expected take over the chair.
Indeed, as President Hichilema takes over the chairmanship from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egyptian, it will be motivating to, particularly, Zambians who we call on to take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase the country’s potential and help in further regional integration.
The event, taking place at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Kenneth Kaunda Wing is being held under the apt theme, “Economic integration for a thriving COMESA anchored on green investment, value-addition and tourism”.
This theme is an acknowledgement of the need to tackle many challenges faced by the continent particularly emerging issues on climate change and regional value addition to move away from the export of raw materials.
For Zambia it is a chance for the country to strengthen its role and participation in regional integration, exchange information on investment opportunities, creation of business partnerships across the
COMESA region, boost foreign exchange revenues for the country and enhance its tourism potential.
From the day COMESA secretary general Chileshe Kapwepwe and Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Chipoka Mulenga signed the host agreement on April 23, this year, for the country to hold the event, stakeholders have been anxiously preparing themselves to ensure it is a success.
Member countries collectively recorded an average of 56-per cent increase in exported goods globally amounting, to $156 billion in 2021 from $100 billion in 2020.
Given the impact the COVID-19 and a myriad other calamities have had on the economies resulting in the dwindling of regional trade activities, the figure shows that more could be achieved, with more resilience.
With participation, and knowledge sharing from the more than 3,000 delegates, more successes are likely to be achieved going forward.
This, however, requires more efforts from both the private and public sector from the COMESA region to increase co-operation and integration in all fields of development.
This is, particularly, so in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information as well as technology.
Indeed, the delegates from the 21 member countries of this distinctive grouping are expected to come out of this summit more resolved and strong-minded to address their challenges at national, regional and continental levels, especially on the economic front.

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