ADDIS ABABA – (AA) The 18th summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) wrapped up in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
In a final communiqué, the summit called for Africa’s three major regional groupings – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and COMESA – to agree on establishing a free trade area.
The statement called on COMESA member states to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and hailed preparations by Ethiopia and Rwanda to accede to COMESA’s free trade area.
The communiqué also called on the central banks in COMESA member states to help boost the private sector and small business through providing loans to help them become competitive.
“As gender mainstreaming will be central to the success of development programs, COMESA states should consider the involvement of women in all sectors,” the statement read.
It also called on member states to swiftly settle annual financial contributions for the effective implementation of COMESA programs.
It went on to call for maintaining the theme of inclusive industrialization policies and taking immediate action to help realize sustainable development in the regional bloc.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, COMESA’s new chairman, expressed his country’s commitment to implementing of the grouping’s integration and cooperation policies.
“Ethiopia follows and has adopted regional integration policies of COMESA, which my country believes bring people of the region to prosperity and inclusive development,” he said.
With 19 member states, COMESA is the largest economic bloc in Africa.
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