Lusaka, Friday, June 15, 2018: The timetable of the 20th COMESA Heads of State and Governments Summit and other Policy Organs meetings has been issued. The Summit will take place in Lusaka, Zambia on 18 – 19 July 2018. It will be preceded by meetings of ministers and technical officials starting from July 9, 2018.
The theme for this year Summit is: COMESA: Towards Digital Economic Integration. It is designed to rally member States towards the full adoption of digital technologies. The focus is on establishing seamless processes across COMESA region to enable ease of doing business/trade and to enhance regional integration using ICT as a tool. Currently, COMESA is rolling out instruments of Digital Free Trade Area (DFTA), that incorporates e-Trade, e- logistics and e-legislation to minimise physical barriers in its member states.
Delegations from the 19 members regional economic bloc are expected to arrive in Lusaka beginning July 7, 2018. Among the key issues in this year’s Summit Agenda is the consideration of membership to COMESA by Tunisia and Somalia. Negotiations for the admission of the two States have been concluded. What remains is the endorsement of Somalia by the 38th COMESA Council of Ministers meeting and subsequent approval by the Heads of State Assembly. Tunisia was endorsed during the 37th Council meeting in November 2017 in Lusaka. This will raise the number of COMESA States from the current to 19 to 21.
The Summit is also expected to appoint a new Secretary General of COMESA to take over from Mr Sindiso Ngwenya whose tenure of office is coming to an end.
The Intergovernmental Committee (IC) which comprises of Permanent/Principal Secretaries will be the curtain raiser for the 10 ten days COMESA annual event and will take three days 9 – 11 July 2018. The IC is responsible for the development of programmes and action plans in all fields of co-operation except in the finance and monetary sector. It will review progress reports presented by various sectoral committees and COMESA Institutions and make recommendations to the Council of Ministers for decision making.
The Council of Ministers will meet on 13 -14 July 2018 to make decisions on various recommendations presented by the Intergovernmental Committee on the way forward on implementation of COMESA integration programmes.
Below is the Summit timetable:
• The 38th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9 - 11 July 2018
• The ESA/EPA Senior Officials Meeting: 12 July 2018
• Peace and Security Committee Meeting 12 - 13 July 2018
• 13th COMESA Business Council Forum 12 - 13 July 2018
• The 38th Council of Ministers meeting 14 - 15 July 2018
• The ESA/EPA Council of Ministers’ Meeting 15 July 2018
• Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs 15 - 16 July 2018
• The 10th First Ladies Round Table 18 - 19 July 2018
• The 20th Summit of the COMESA Heads of State & Govt 18 - 19 July 2018