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Veep tips COMESA member state 

VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale- Nalumango has implored Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states to collaborate in promoting regional peace and stability.

Ms Mutale-Nalumango said the emergence of sporadic conflict in countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia had the potential to reverse the economic gains that the region had scored.

“Therefore, it is in COMESA’s interest to ensure that peace prevails at all times because instability anywhere on the continent, is instability everywhere,” she said.

She was speaking when she officially opened the COMESA council of ministers meeting in Lusaka yesterday.

Ms Mutale-Nalumango said while it was appreciated disturbances in the region sometimes took centre stage, especially in the media, member states should be proud of many achievements that COMESA had recorded since its establishment.

She said while these were incremental efforts, collectively, COMESA had emerged stronger economically and commercially.

“The recent opening of the Chipata-Mchinji one-stop border facility between Zambia and Malawi and other projects are key reminders of what we can achieve when peace prevails, because it allows us to implement programmes that inspire our citizens in the COMESA region to prosper,” she said.

The Vice-President however rallied the region to work collectively to address present-day challenges, such as economic downturns, adverse effects of climate change, social exclusion, unequal distribution of wealth and increased unemployment rates.

“Experience has shown that while efforts to address violence and conflicts can result in the signing of peace agreements and in the cessation of hostilities, these are not sustained as long as the structural factors remain unresolved,” she said.

COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe called on member states to double their efforts towards economic and regional integration.

Ms Kapwepwe said at the same occasion, that the major threats to sustainable development and region integration were political instability and the impact of climate change.

She said it was important that member states in the region collectively addressed conflicts and insecurities within COMESA.

The 18th COMESA foreign affairs meeting is a precursor to a Heads of State and Government summit scheduled for tomorrow.


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