13th Comesa summit-President calls for focus on island states


President Michel (right, front row) addressing the summit

He was speaking on the first day of Comesa’s heads of state and government meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Mr Michel has been leading a delegation to this 13th summit including Secretary of State Jean-Paul Adam, Seychelles’ ambassador to South Africa and to Comesa Noellie Alexander and representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance.

At the meeting he highlighted the need for Comesa’s programmes to focus on the needs of its island member states so they can benefit more from the process of regional integration.

And Comesa has endorsed the recommendation for its secretariat to develop programmes that will foster more air and sea links between the island members and the African continent.

The first day of the summit also saw the launch of Comesa’s Customs Union, which creates a single customs territory among its member states. Countries forming part of such a union have to eliminate trade barriers among themselves and apply a common duty on imports coming from non-member states. 

Member states have three years to examine the feasibility of applying a common external tariff under the concept of the customs union.

Mr Michel also indicated that he would use the summit to further highlight the need for a coordinated approach in the region to tackle the acts of piracy that are affecting Indian Ocean countries.

Comesa’s aim is to liberalise trade between member states as well as promote development through economic integration, and Seychelles has been a member since 1997.

The other 18 member states are Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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