NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa region (COMESA) has been urged to develop and inculcate a preferential taste for its own goods and services.
At the opening of a Ministerial meeting Thursday, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Industrialization and Cooperatives Peter Munya observed that the COMESA region and Africa in general, were endowed with vast resources both material and human and it was time the region came up with strategies to harness them for its own development.
Ministers responsible for industry from the 21 Member States and their representatives meeting at the 3rd COMESA Ministerial Committee on Industry in Nairobi, officially adopted the COMESA Industrial Strategy following the approval of an Action Plan and Regional Guidelines on a Local Content Policy
This paves the way for the implementation of the COMESA Industrial Strategy, which is aimed at supporting structural transformation of regional economies through sustainable and inclusive industrialization.
In their decision, the ministers urged Member States to integrate activities of the Regional Action Plan into their National Industrial Development Plans for implementation.
“We cannot talk about industrialization and Infrastructure development without addressing Local Content policies and regulations as appropriate economic instruments which could be employed to advance regional development by harnessing locally available resources,” CS Munya told the ministers.
The member states were also called upon to allocate budgets to implement their industrial development plans in synergy with the regional activities, and in line with the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDAIII).
The two-day meeting was chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry of Madagascar Lantosoa Rakotomalala, who is also the chair of the COMESA Council of Ministers.
In their final statement, the Ministers directed the COMESA Secretariat to facilitate mobilization of financial and technical resources required for implementation of the Regional Action Plan.
“In order to reap full benefits of Local Content, there is need for goodwill and commitment of political leadership, professional, captains of industry and consumers in general,” said Munya.
The Ministers urged member states to use the regional guidelines to develop/review their Local Content Policy Frameworks and to learn from each other through experience sharing on Local Content. The ministers further directed COMESA Secretariat to facilitate Member States in the formulation and implementation of local content programmes.