Comesa meets over trade deficit, in­dus­trial growth

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

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.

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