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HomeBusinessEl-Sisi highlights COMESA's achievements, hands over mantle to HH

El-Sisi highlights COMESA’s achievements, hands over mantle to HH

IMMEDIATE past Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Chairperson Abdel Fattah El-Sisi says the bloc has recorded significant progress towards attaining regional trade and integration.

Mr El-Sisi, who is also Egyptian President, said milestones such as the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and the achievement of harmony with the COMESA East African Community and Southern African Development Community tripartite free trade area.

He also said the region’s exports reached US$13 billion in 2022, the highest value since the establishment of the free trade zone, within the framework of the COMESA in 2000.

“In the same context, Egypt, as COMESA chair, introduced the regional industrial integration initiative, within the framework of the COMESA industrialisation strategy 2017-2026. It aimed to deepen industrial production by linking regional value chains, according to the competitive advantage of countries,” Mr El-Sisi said.

He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when he addressed the 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit, at which function he passed on the chairmanship to President Hakainde Hichilema.

Mr El-Sisi said during his tenure, COMESA’s focus was on advancing economic integration rates to enhance the level of well-being of the region’s people and to promote the capabilities of peace and security in member states.

He said the summit’s theme: “Economic integration for a thriving COMESA anchored on green investment, value addition and tourism,” was timely in the quest to attain regional trade and integration.

Mr El-Sisi said his tenure, which lasted for two years, focused on the infrastructure sector by encouraging interconnection projects between member countries, the most prominent of which was the interconnection project between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.

“The other was the Julius Nyerere hydro- power plant and dam which was implemented in the fraternal country of Tanzania using Egyptian and Tanzanian hands. The hydro project was anticipated to generate electric power amounting to 2.5 Gigawatts,” he said.

Mr El-Sisi said to harness the gains recorded so far, there was a need for the region to improve on areas of peace and security.

He said the scale and depth of the challenges that some member countries faced to sustain peace and security, imposed a need to adhere to a number of key determinants and principles. He said there was a need for regional action to respond to the conflict in Sudan and help aid the needs of citizens affected by the war in that country.

Mr El-Sisi expressed confidence that his successor, President Hichilema would build from where his predecessor left off to continue steering the region on a growth trajectory.

In his new role, President Hichilema would be deputised by Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye, with Egypt taking up the role of rapporteur.

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