Business

Adoption of COMESA’s CIA vital

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says the adoption of the revised Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – Common Investment Area (CIA) agreement will encourage member states to create a more stable investment environment for both local and foreign investors.
CIA is a legal instrument designed to increase investment flows within COMESA.
Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame said the initiative will enhance COMESA’s attractiveness and competitiveness as a destination not only for foreign direct investment but also for domestic investment.
It also aims to build a good investment environment, promote cross-border trade and protect investments.
“Through the CIA, we hope to remove current inconsistencies due to dealing with many legal frameworks and international commitments taken by countries, through various legal instruments such as bilateral investment treaties and investment chapters in free trade agreements,” Mrs Kayula said.
Earlier, COMESA assistant secretary general for finance and administration ambassador Nagla El-Hussainy said once adopted and signed by member states, the CIA will be a great milestone in reaching the ultimate goal of COMESA in relation to facilitating investment flows in the region.
Ms El-Hussainy said the initiative will help COMESA build a sustainable economy through the use of required standards on investment treatment and facilitation in pursuit of viable growth for member countries.
The current CIA framework was drafted with technical support by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and International Institute for Sustainable Development, and was adopted by heads of states and government in May 2007.
Later, the secretariat was guided by the council of ministers to proceed with the review following the number of new emerging concerns in the area of international investment rules, especially aiming at improving the investors’ protection while seeking to establish balance between the rights and obligations of the state and the ones of the investors in pursuing sustainable development.

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