NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – Deputy President William Ruto is in Antananarivo, Madagascar for the 19th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Heads of State and Government summit where Kenya will push for an extension of the sugar safeguard from the COMESA region into the country.
The current safeguard which was granted in 2015 is due to expire in February 2017 and the country is still unable compete on equal terms due to in-built structural weaknesses such as high fragmented land tenure system.
While in Antananarivo, the Deputy President will use the opportunity to also lobby other COMESA member countries to support the candidature of Ambassador Amina Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, for the seat of Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Among the key highlight discussion items at the summit includes the status of implementation of the COMESA, East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Tripartite Free Trade Area as well as application by the Federal Republic of Somalia to join COMESA.
The summit will also outline a roadmap for the recruitment of the Secretary General for COMESA and trade and customs issues.
COMESA comprises 19 countries with 15 member states participating in the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA).
The summit is the supreme organ of the COMESA and guides the regional bloc in implementation of decisions.
The Deputy President is accompanied by CS Amina Mohamed, Adan Mohammed of Industrialization and Enterprise Development and Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia who is also accredited to COMESA, Sophy Kombe.