TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern (COMESA) has established research forums aimed at promoting regional integration to address economic challenges faced by member states.
This came to light during the third COMESA annual research forum which started on Monday in Kigali, Rwanda, with over 60 leading policy research think tanks, academia and the private sector representatives.
According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail by COMESA head of corporate communication Mwangi Gakunga, the forums was held under the theme ‘Boosting Intra-African Trade through Regional Economic Communities: Perspectives from COMESA Regional Integration Programme’.
Mr Gakunga said the forums are intended to strengthen the participation of governments and key stakeholders in the regional integration agenda by sharing and discussing research findings.
“In February, COMESA invited experts to submit abstracts for research papers on the theme and more than 60 of them were received. Out of these, 24 were accepted and the authors were invited to make presentations at the forum.
“The experts will review and discuss 20 research papers that have been developed by researchers on key regional integration issues. These are market integration, investments, the blue economy, industrialisation and economic infrastructure,” he said.
Commenting on the development, COMESA assistant secretary-general Kipyego Cheluget said the economic challenges facing Africa and COMESA in particular can best be addressed through evidence- based policies.
“Research is essential in providing evidence to inform policy. I urge you to pay keen attention to the policy implications from each paper because their implementation will play a critical role in moving the regional integration agenda to a higher level,” Dr Cheluget said.
And Rwanda director general of trade and investments Robert Opirah also cautioned that commitments made by member states to implement regional integration programmes may be overtaken by events if they are not dynamic.