Comesa meets over trade deficit, industrial growth
The Common Market for East and Southern Africa intergovernmental committee has started talks in Madagascar, as it seeks to double regional trade through increased production by local industries.
The committee, which brings together Permanent and Principal Secretaries from the 19 member regional economic bloc, yesterday called on member states to increase their production capacities for goods and services to scale up industrialisation.
Madagascar’s Trade and Consumption minister Armand Tazafy said regional integration will only be consolidated if the value of traded commodities, especially agriculture and minerals products, is high.
“Member States should complement this initiative in the productive sector by implementing programmes that seek to enhance innovation and the utilisation of science and technology even in rudimentary production processes,” said Tazafy in a communiqué yesterday.
Currently, the region trades more externally than internally. A recent study by the Comesa secretariat shows the bloc’s trade potential stands at $82.3 billion (Sh8.328 trillion).
The study notes that intra-Comesa trade would increase by $41.15 billion (Sh4.164 trillion) if 50 per cent of the current external trading was channeled to the region.
This, Tazafy said could be achieved by involving micro, small and medium enterprises in contributing towards industrialisation.
“..enhanced value addition and creation of value chains would ensure inclusive and sustainable industrialisation while investment on the affected sectors would be increased,” Tazafy said.
Recently, the regional bloc adopted the Comesa Industrial Policy as well as the Comesa Common Investment Area, to facilitate both intra-regional trade and Foreign Direct Investments.
Secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said time had come for Comesa to review its business processes, including the current model that the organisation and its predecessor - the Preferential Trade Area – had used over the years.