Zim, Zam­bia move to speed up Comesa pact

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Busi­ness Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE and Zam­bia have set up national com­mit­tees to mon­i­tor the implementation of the Com­mon Mar­ket for East­ern and South­ern Africa (Comesa) pro­to­col on the free move­ment of per­sons, ser­vices, labour and the right of es­tab­lish­ment and res­i­dence.

This fol­lows a re­cent de­ci­sion by the Comesa Coun­cil of Min­is­ters to speed up the implementation of the bloc’s free move­ment and visa pro­to­cols.

In a state­ment, Comesa said the com­mit­tees will over­see progress, iden­tify chal­lenges, and pro­vide sup­port for the im­proved implementation of all the re­gion’s free-move­ment re­lated pro­grammes, di­rec­tives and poli­cies at national level.

“So far four mem­ber states; Bu­rundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Zim­babwe have signed the pro­to­col on free move­ment. Only Bu­rundi has fully rat­i­fied the pro­to­col, while Rwanda is in the process of do­ing so.

“Al­though the Zam­bia and Zim­babwe haven’t yet rat­i­fied the pro­to­col, they’re the first to in­au­gu­rate the national mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tees thus demon­strat­ing their com­mit­ment to move the Comesa Free Move­ment Agenda for­ward,” it said.

Comesa noted that the es­tab­lish­ment of the com­mit­tees is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the re­gion’s free move­ment agenda, and for re­gional in­te­gra­tion in gen­eral.

It said the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion also sup­ported the in­au­gu­ra­tion and build­ing the ca­pac­ity of these national mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tees to ful­fil their ob­jec­tives.

Comesa mi­gra­tion ex­pert Mr Hous­sein Guedi con­grat­u­lated the two coun­tries for tak­ing the lead in im­ple­ment­ing one of the de­ci­sions of the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters.

“Comesa recog­nises that for re­gional in­te­gra­tion to be fully re­alised, cit­i­zens of Comesa mem­ber states must be al­lowed to move freely in order to pro­vide and en­hance ser­vices, tourism, labour, cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, among other as­pects of the Comesa in­te­gra­tion agenda,” he said.

The IOM de­vel­op­ment fund sup­ported the ini­tia­tive through its project on build­ing ca­pac­ity and rais­ing aware­ness for Comesa mem­ber states to im­ple­ment the bloc’s free move­ment agenda.

“This fol­lowed a re­quest from Comesa sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mr Sindiso Ng­wenya, as well as the Gov­ern­ment of Zam­bia and Zim­babwe,” it said. — @okazunga

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