Comesa roots for re­gional visa to bol­ster com­merce, tourism

The pro­posed in­stru­ment will be tabled for adop­tion in Mada­gas­car sum­mit meet­ings

The Star (Kenya) - - News - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

The Com­mon Mar­ket for Eastern and South­ern Africa is push­ing for a re­gional visa to fa­cil­i­tate easy move­ment of the busi­ness com­mu­nity and pro­mote tourism in the wake of re­newed ef­forts by re­gional mar­kets to in­te­grate.

Comesa has in­vited the pri­vate sec­tor, im­mi­gra­tion ex­perts and diplo­matic com­mu­nity from its 20 mem­ber coun­tries for a two-day busi­ness coun­cil con­sul­ta­tive di­a­logue from to­mor­row at its head­quar­ters in Lusaka, Zam­bia.

Its main ob­jec­tive is to re­view and val­i­date the pro­posed Comesa Busi­ness Visa.

An­chored on the theme “fa­cil­i­tat­ing the move­ment of busi­ness per­sons, trade and re­gional in­te­gra­tion”, the di­a­logue will en­hance de­lib­er­a­tions be­tween the pri­vate sec­tor and gov­ern­ments on per­ti­nent mi­gra­tion is­sues to en­sure ex­ist­ing poli­cies con­trib­ute to in­creased trade, tourism flows, and busi­ness en­gage­ment in the re­gion.

“The com­mon visa and mul­ti­ple en­try scheme will be a wel­come in­stru­ment that will spur busi­ness and re­gional in­te­gra­tion,” Comesa Busi­ness Coun­cil CEO San­dra Uwera said.

The com­mon visa ini­tia­tive is a fol­low-up to the rec­om­men­da­tions that were pre­sented to the Comesa Coun­cil of Min­is­ters by the pri­vate sec­tor in 2012, on the need to come up with an in­terim solution to fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of busi­ness per­sons.

The CBC has been work­ing on de­vel­op­ing the pro­posed in­stru­ments that can be adopted as a Comesa Busi­ness Visa, which will pro­vide for mul­ti­ple en­tries for busi­ness per­sons in the re­gion.

The pro­posed in­stru­ment will be tabled for adop­tion be­fore the Comesa pol­icy or­gans and sum­mit meet­ings that will take place in Mada­gas­car be­tween Oc­to­ber 10 and 19.

If adopted, the visa scheme could be op­er­a­tional in the next two years. The ini­tia­tive will add to the East Africa Com­mu­nity’s sin­gle tourist visa.

/ENOS TECHE

Cor­po­rate af­fairs di­rec­tor for 4Afrika Mi­crosoft Mid­dle East and Africa, Louis Otieno, with Comesa Busi­ness Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Uwera at the first Comesa ICT In­dus­tries Pub­lic - Pri­vate Di­a­logue in Nairobi on April 20

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