News / Africa

Africa Group COMESA ‘Encouraged’ with Regional Trade Cooperation

Map of COMESA (World Bank)
Map of COMESA (World Bank)
Peter Clottey
A senior official at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says the organization is encouraged by an agreement between heads of state from Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia to join the group’s free trade program, a decision taken at the just-concluded summit.  

The heads of state and government that attended the COMESA summit, which ended Thursday, in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, include Joseph Kabila, Michael Sata, Yoweri Museveni, Joyce Banda, Robert Mugabe, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Francis Mangeni, director for trade at COMESA, says the region’s relative peace and stability has led to a sharp increase in business activities, which he says could attract foreign investment.

“Peace and security in the region has improved and we are happy about that. Conflicts in Congo are almost resolved, the M23 has been defeated. So the security situation is very good and this is very important for investment,” says Mangeni.

Officials say the heads of state discussed the status of the implementation of the COMESA Free Trade Area and progress on the implementation of the COMESA Customs Union.                                                                                       

“The three countries that have agreed to join the COMESA Free Trade Area by December this year are Uganda, Ethiopia and Congo DR, the host country. Congo DR and Ethiopia are large economies so this is really good news for us,” says Mangeni.

“Overall we have got some good outcomes and we need to now implement these decisions over this year so by the time of the next summit, we will have something to report to the [leaders].”

Observers say implementation of agreements at such summits is often weak, despite proposed solutions to resolve problems the entire continent faces. Mangeni acknowledged Africa needs to do more to resolve its challenges.

He says the regional group has established a measure it calls “domestication” in a bid to ensure decisions and agreements signed at the Kinshasa summit are fully implemented.

“We have got clear pronouncement from heads of state…that this is a number one priority and they will make sure they will do everything possible at the national level in terms of enacting national laws, putting in place the required institutions and polices to ensure that what they have adopted at the COMESA level is translated into national laws and there are national institutions to implement them,” says Mangeni.

Some analysts say pockets of violence in Sudan, DRC, Somalia and other countries could undermine COMESA’s efforts to attract foreign investors.

But, Mangeni says the group has implemented mechanisms to help resolve the conflicts. He also says there is an upsurge in business activities.

“The message to investors is things are improving,” says Mangeni. “Business is booming in COMESA and the statistic that we like to cite is trade in goods has risen from $3.1 billion in the year 2000 to $19.3 billion at the moment. If you look at the trajectory, the rate of growth, the potential is really good for investors that come to Africa.”
Clottey interview with Francis Mangeni,Director for Trade at COMESA
Clottey interview with Francis Mangeni,Director for Trade at COMESA i
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs