Lusaka, Friday, April, 20, 2018: Five heads of foreign diplomatic Missions in Zambia have been accredited as Permanent/ Special Representatives of their respective countries and States to COMESA. They include, Egypt, France, Brazil, USA and the State of Palestine. In a two-series accreditation ceremony at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt H.E. Ahmed Mostafa Abdel Aal Mohamed was accredited as the Permanent Representative of his country to COMESA.
This was after he presented his letters of Credence to the Secretary General of COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya, on 18 April 2018. Ambassador Mohamed was the only one from a COMESA member State accredited. The other ambassadors were from outside the COMESA bloc and were accredited as Special Representatives of their respective countries/State on 18 and 19 April 2018. They were H.E. Sylvain Berger, (France) H.E. Daniel Foote (USA), H.E Dr. Walid Hasan (State of Palestine) and H.E Colbert Soares Pinto Jr (Brazil).
The new High Commissioner of India to Zambia and Special Representative to COMESA (designate) H.E Mr. N. J. Gangte attended the ceremony. He is expected to present his accreditation letters anytime soon. He said his Government was keen to strengthen engagement with COMESA within Africa during his tenure.
In their statements, the top diplomats pledged their countries commitment to deepen collaboration with COMESA for greater integration through trade and investments.
Ambassador Mohamed said since Egypt joined COMESA in 1998, it has always been one of the most active members of the COMESA family.
“It is my intention to do the my best and spare no effort to make my country’s membership to COMESA even more productive and successful for the betterment of our African States.” he said.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya described Egypt as a dynamic member State having recorded US$1.8 billion dollars in exports for 2016 making it one of the largest contributors to the COMESA intra-regional trade.
Ambassador Soares Jnr said Brazil has been leading the process of economic integration in Mercosur, the South American regional trade bloc, which is currently 27 years old.
He said: “It is the right time for COMESA and Mercosur to be closer and the Embassy for Brazil will be available to support COMESA in this effort.”
Mr Ngwenya commended Brazil for being one of Africa’s fastest growing trade partners with trade expanded from US$4.3 billion in 2000 to US$28.5 billion in 2013.
Ambassador Foote said the US will continue partnering with COMESA to further deepen regional integration.
“We recognize that there is still some work to be done to accomplish a shared goal of a fully integrated economic community,” Amb. Foote added.
Since 2009, the Secretary General said, the US government has provided over US$22 million directly to COMESA to support broad programme areas which include trade and investment, agriculture, environment, conflict mitigation, transport, conflict and reconciliation, gender and programme management and organizational support.
Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Walid Hassan thanked all COMESA Member States for their supportive position to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and for the establishment of the State of Palestine.
“African has firmly resolved to support our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” Mr Ngwenya assured Dr Walid. “For us, the two-State solution remains the most appropriate consensus to bring peace and security particularly for Israeli and Palestine and for all the region.”