A delegation of selected COMESA Member States and institutions visited Tunisia from 10th to 14th April 2017 as part of the process of that country’s accession to the Treaty establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Tunisia formally applied to join COMESA in February 2016. The Heads of State and Government during their Summit of October 2016 made a unanimous decision to negotiate with the Republic of Tunisia on its application for membership.

This delegation led by Mr. Rasmoel Nambinina, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Madagascar (Representing the Chairperson of the COMESA Council of Ministers) visited Tunisia to make progress concerning the application. Other Member States in the delegation included the Republic of Burundi representing the Vice Chairperson of the COMESA Council of Ministers, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Sudan.

The main objective of the mission was to commence negotiations on an agreement to be concluded between the Republic of Tunisia and COMESA Member States on Tunisia’s membership to COMESA. The mission also included consultations with the private and the public sector on the COMESA Economic Integration Agenda and the supporting institutions such as the Trade and Development Bank(formerly PTA Bank, the African Trade Insurance Agency(ATI), the COMESA Regional Investment Agency(RIA) and the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) among others.

Both the private sector forum and the meeting with the public sector were opened by the Honourable Zied Ladhari, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Tunisia. In his opening statements at the two meetings and during a press conference on the margins of the negotiation process, the Minister confirmed the Republic of Tunisia’s decision to join COMESA and urged delegates to the meeting to expeditiously conclude the negotiation process. The minister further indicated that Tunisia is diversifying its trading partners and would like to deepen intra African trade through membership to COMESA. In response to the Minister’s remarks, the leader of the COMESA Delegation, Mr. Rasmoel Nambinina, said the COMESA Economic Integration Agenda offers immense opportunities which contribute to national development through trade and investment for Member States.

The delegation which included representatives of various COMESA institutions was supported by officials from the COMESA Secretariat led by Director Legal and Institutional Affairs Mr Brian Chigawa.