NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday travels to the Republic of Zimbabwe to attend the 13th Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit of Heads of State and Government that will be held at Port Victoria.
The plane carrying the President and his entourage will depart Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 2.00 p.m.
The summit is being held against the background of the global economic crises that is adversely affecting many economies in the region.
The President will be accompanied by Ministers Moses Wetangula and Amos Kimunya, ministers for Foreign Affairs and Trade respectively and other senior government officials.
President Kibaki has been the COMESA chairman since 2007.
During his tenure as the COMESA Chairman many of the priority actions agreed upon at the last Summit in Nairobi have been accomplished by several member states.
The overall vision is to develop COMESA into a Customs Union, a Common Market and eventually an Economic Community.
Several COMESA members have so far ratified the protocol establishing the COMESA Fund.
The COMESA Fund that is now operational provides time bound budgetary support to those countries that may face temporary structural challenges during the transition period towards the Customs Union.
Progress has also been recorded in the programme for the promotion of trade in services which has potential for enhancing growth of member states economies significantly.
During the Chairmanship of President Kibaki, intra-COMESA trade reached the $15 billion mark, while the COMAID programme, Aid for Trade Unit was also fully established.
In April this year, the North-South Corridor was launched as a priority Aid for Trade project. COMESA has cited infrastructure as a key pillar in an effort to develop trade in the region.
A successful tripartite summit of COMESA, Southern Africa Development Community and East Africa Community was held in October, last year in which member states resolved to harmonize projects and move towards a merger of the three Regional organizations into a single bloc.
This process will begin with the establishment of a free trade area arrangement covering all three regional economic communities.
The COMESA Common Investment Area has also been designed to improve the business climate in the region, harmonize COMESA investment policies, and increase investment flows in the region.