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Lusaka, Wednesday, July 18, 2018: The 20th COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit opened in Lusaka this morning with a call on the Member States to embrace digital economic integration.

Chairperson of the COMESA Authority and President of the Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency Hery Rajaonarimampianina, indicated that digitization of regional economies will contribute to the rapid development and prosperity of COMESA in particular and Africa as a whole.

President Rajaonarimampianina, commended the region which he said has witnessed profound developments that are unfolding at a rapid pace and promises individual and collective success for COMESA.

In his address to the Summit, the Chairperson credited the above achievements to the new dawn of peace and stability attributed to the decisions made by some Member States to resolve longstanding differences that have been holding back the collective quest to realize the vision of the founding fathers of a COMESA that is economically integrated, prosperous and at peace with itself.

“Without being exhaustive I would like to take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to our brothers the Heads of State and Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the State of Eritrea for the historic decision to end the hostilities of more than fifteen years.”

He paid special tribute to His Excellency, Mr. Abiy Ahmed Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Government and the people of Ethiopia for unconditionally accepting the ruling by the Boundary Commission which has seen the beginning of normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Recently, the whole world was pleased to see the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea lead the reconciliation process between the two countries.

In his welcoming remarks, Zambian Republican President His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu commended the region for having remained consistent and committed to implementing programmes directed at maintaining peace and economic stability within the region.

The positive stride made since the establishment of the PTA in the early 1980s subsequent transformation into COMESA in 1994 speak for themselves.

“As a region we have expanded in terms of membership to become one of the most populous reginal economic bodies with membership that spans from the north to the south,” President Lungu added.

During the same event, Outgoing Secretary General of COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya said COMESA has and continues to be a leader in trade facilitation with current intra-COMESA exports standing at USD8 Billion in 2017 from USD 1.7 Billion in the year 2000.