200 in for COMESA regional economic bloc meeting

OVER 200 delegates from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states have started arriving in the country for the 33rd meetings of the top decision-making organs of the regional economic bloc.
The meetings began yesterday and will run till December 9, in Lusaka at Government Complex, according to a statement availed to the Daily Mail by COMESA Secretariat public relations officer Mwangi Gakunga.
Mr Gakunga said the meetings, which will include the policy organs from the Council of Ministers, the Inter-Governmental Committee(IC) and the Administrative and Budget Committee, will review progress on various programmes being undertaken.
“The meetings will review progress on implementation of various COMESA programmes including market integration, cross -border economic infrastructure, industrialisation, institutional, policy and regulations, governance, peace and security, capacity building, gender and social affairs, resource mobilisation and technical cooperation.
“All COMESA institutions and specialised agencies will also present their progress reports,” he said.
On the administrative and budget committee, Mr Gakunga said this will be a closed-door session that will consider, among others, the introduction of a machine-readable travel document (MRTD) to help facilitate official travel by COMESA staff in the region and beyond.
He said the meetings on policy organs are coinciding with the 20th anniversary of COMESA since its transformation from the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) on December 8, 1994.
The Secretariat is planning to celebrate the event with all stakeholders including delegations from all the 19 member states attending the policy organs meetings.
The policy recommendations arising from IC meetings will be presented to the Council of Ministers on December 8 – 9, 2014 for decision-making.
“The council is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of COMESA and ensuring the implementation of agreed policies, hence its decision binds member states and the Secretariat to implement them in the subsequent period,” he said.

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