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Zimbabwe Counting On Comesa To Power Economic Recovery - PM Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe is looking to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to be an engine of economic growth and recovery, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said today in Victoria Falls at the Comesa summit which is continuing there through the weekend.

He spoke as Comesa trade ministers gathered in the resort town said they were preparing a rescue package for Zimbabwe to help jumpstart the country's moribund economy.

Zimbabwe is assuming the rotating Comesa chairmanship at this summit.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the economic turmoil in Zimbabwe in the past decade had set the region back in terms of global competitiveness as a provider of goods and services.

Had there not been so much political upheaval in Zimbabwe, Mr. Tsvangirai said, the country would be reaping the benefits of its economy instead of gearing up to rebuild it.

Speaking more broadly about Africa, Mr. Tsvangirai said it is good that Comesa offers African trade insurance to provide companies with protection against political instability, but said this was also an indictment and a call to African leaders to end conflict on the continent.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the prime minister also called for public-private partnerships for the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure, creating jobs.

As noted, delegates of Comesa member nations have gathered in Victoria Falls to discuss accelerated integration of the 19-country region with a combined GDP of US$350 billion.

The organization is expected to launch a new customs union at this summit to harmonize tariffs in the aim of increasing trade within the bloc.

To examine how this process might help Zimbabwe, reporter Patience Rusere turned to independent analyst Rejoice Ngwenya in Harare Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga in Victoria Falls.

Mishairambwi-Mushonga said Zimbabwe should benefit as a Comesa member by gaining access to a bigger market and by promoting investment in the country.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...