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The biggest annual event in the COMESA calendar is taking place this month in Madagascar when Heads of State and Governments of the 19 Member bloc of countries hold their 19th Summit. It will convene on 18 – 19th October at the Ivato International Conference Centre, Antananarivo.

Before the Summit, key policy organs will begin their meetings, Monday October 10, 2016 at the same venue. The first to kick-off will be the Intergovernmental Committee that will bring together Permanent or Principal Secretaries designated by each of the 19 Member States. It is responsible for the development of programmes and action plans in all fields of co-operation except in the finance and monetary sector. Owing to its heavy workload, this meeting will run for three days.

It will be followed by the Council of Ministers’ meeting on 14 -15 October 2016 which will give way to the Heads of State Summit. In between there will be the COMESA Business Forum that brings the private sector to discuss issues pertinent to the business community in the region. Ministers of Foreign Affairs will meet to discuss security issues.

The theme for this year’s Summit is “Inclusive and sustainable industrialization”.

Advance teams from the COMESA Secretariat have begun arriving in Antananarivo to prepare for the meetings including setting up of information technology systems. Delegations from member states are expected to arrive in the coming weekend.