VICE-PRESIDENT W.K Mutale-Nalumango has urged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Area to strengthen value-addition and industrial growth in order to promote regional trade and integration.
Ms Mutale-Nalumango said there was also need to increase digitisation which played an important role in the economies of the region.
“There will be need for the region to prioritise and focus on key areas that contribute to economic growth including trade and transit facilitation and implementation of interventions that promote the establishment of a regionally integrated, diversified and competitive production capacity anchored on agriculture, industry and services sectors.
Prioritisation should also be based on value addition, diversification, innovation and common regional standards, all with due consideration to protection
our environment,” Ms Mutale-Nalumango said.
She was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the opening of the 43rd meeting of the council of ministers, held under the theme: “Building resilience through strategic digital economic integration”.
Ms Mutale-Nalumango said the occasion’s theme was timely in driving efforts that must be implemented within the context of inclusiveness, participation, and sustainability.
This is to ensure that all sections of the society including women, youth and the vulnerable, were supported to have access and control over resources that had an impact on human development.
At the same occasion, COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said the bloc had initiated a number of initiatives aimed at promoting regional integration.
Ms Kapwepwe said this included infrastructure development and support towards the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“We have made significant strides on a number of priority areas which can serve as a spring-board to propel us to greater heights. We remain focused on our mandate and resolute to achieve it,” she said.