NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has expressed confidence in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s leadership and facilitation in the successful roll-out of the newly inaugurated African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said the regional economic bloc counts on President Kenyatta’s support to guide and move forward the implementation of AfCFTA.
“As COMESA, we are confident that your commitment and support will play a big role in the realization of AfCTA as we work to ensure COMESA’s voice is heard and its interests safeguarded at the continental level,” Kapwepwe told President Kenyatta.
Kapwepwe, who is the country for the 21st COMESA International Trade Fair and High Level Business Summit, was speaking today when she paid a courtesy call on the President at State House, Nairobi.
She said COMESA will continue to play a key role in addressing unemployment and trade imbalance in the region.
Implementation of AfCTA was launched early this month at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Africa Union (AU) in Niamey, Niger.
President Kenyatta assured of Kenya’s support to COMESA as it moves to consolidate its position as an economic powerhouse on the continent.
He reiterated his call for COMESA member states to come together and take advantage of their collective strengths as an economic bloc.
“Our success as COMESA member states will largely depend on us stopping to look at each other as competitors and instead unite for economic integration that will make us all winners,” President Kenyatta said.
“We must focus on removing the obstacles that are hindering our people from working and doing business together,” he added.
At a separate meeting at State House Nairobi, President Kenyatta met the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) led by its Chairperson and former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Mbeki briefed the President of the progress in their efforts to integrate and safeguard peace in the Horn of Africa and requested for support noting that Kenya plays a central role in ensuring peace and stability in the region.
“We have started by visiting all countries in the Horn of Africa, collecting views with the aim of restoring peace, security and economic integration in the region,” Mr Mbeki said.
President Kenyatta welcomed the AUHIP’s mission for peace and integration in the Horn of Africa and expressed optimism that through the team, challenges facing the region including terrorism and cross-border insecurity will be addressed.
“The project you are engaged in is very important to us. Peace and stability are key for the region’s development and prosperity,” the President said.
Mbeki was accompanied by the African Union Special Envoy for Silencing the Guns Lamamra Ramtane, IGAD Special Envoy for the Red Sea Dr Mohamed Ali Guyo and UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.