Zim, Zambia move to speed up Comesa pact
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