Unity key to in­vest­ment in COMESA, says Mwanakatwe

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS -

By AN­DREW MUKOMA THE Min­istry of Com­merce, Trade and In­dus­try says COMESA mem­ber-states must work to­gether to strengthen re­gional in­te­gra­tion and at­tract in­vest­ment in the COMESA re­gion,

Com­merce Min­is­ter Mar­garet Mwanakatwe said re­gional in­te­gra­tion will only be suc­cess­ful when busi­nesses, con­sumers and gov­ern­ments be­come fully aware of the ben­e­fits and op­por­tu­ni­ties of re­gional in­te­gra­tion and be­ing part of the global pro­duc­tion chain.

She said that de­spite re­gional in­te­gra­tion ef­forts, she was sad­dened by re­ports of low lev­els of in­tra-Africa trade.

Ms Mwanakatwe was speak­ing in a speech read by South­ern Prov­ince Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Sibanze Simu­choba dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of the 2nd Diplo­matic Con­fer­ence on Com­pe­ti­tion and Trade among COMESA mem­ber States in Liv­ing­stone.

Ms. Mwanakatwe said sta­tis­tics show that in­tra- Africa ex­port make up ap­prox­i­mately 18 per cent of Africa's to­tal.

"By con­trast, in­tra-EU ex­port make up around two thirds of EU to­tal ex­port, whereas in the East Asian and North Amer­ica re­gions their re­spec­tive per­for- mance are around 50 per­cent," she said.

"We con­tinue trad­ing less amongst our­selves be­cause our chal­lenge re­mains that we are still pro­duc­ing and ex­port­ing com­modi­ties which are hardly value added," she said.

Ms. Mwanakatwe noted that the ben­e­fits of trade in­te­gra­tion can­not be overem­pha­sised, adding that op­por­tu­ni­ties are there for mem­ber-states to open up new mar­kets.

Ms. Mwanakatwe called on mem­bers of COMESA Sec­re­tariat to con­tinue to be rel­e­vant in fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­gional in­te­gra­tion as they play a crit­i­cal role in forg­ing re­gional ties.

She also said to foster eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, there is need to har­monise na­tional laws with re­gional laws, namely the COMESA treaty.

COMESA board chair­per­son for Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion Thabisile Langa ex­pressed de­light that mem­ber-states were now recog­nis­ing that com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy has a key role to play in creat­ing a re­gional in­te­grated mar­ket and con­di­tions of gov­er­nance for both na­tional, re­gional and glob­al­i­sa­tion mar­ket places.

Ms. Langa said com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy re­mains one of the best in­stru­ments avail­able to en­sure that re­gional in­te­gra­tion is achieved and ben­e­fits the peo­ple in the com­mon mar­ket.

She said that to achieve a re­gional in­te­grated mar­ket, does not only re­quire com­pli­ance with the treaty obli­ga­tion but po­lit­i­cal will from mem­besr.

Ms. Mwanakatwe

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