Lusaka, Wed, Aug 8, 2018: The Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Representative to COMESA H.E. Ahmed Mostafa today paid a courtesy call on the new Secretary General Madam Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe in her office.
The envoy pledged his country’s support to the implementation of various programmes and projects that the Secretariat is and shall be implementing in the various Member States.
Ambassador Mostafa however, expressed concern at the low levels of public awareness of the regional bloc and its activities amongst the Member States as well as various other stakeholders including the general public. He indicated that once COMESA and its programmes and projects are known, people would have ownership of the programmes being implemented.
“Your excellence, Public awareness of COMESA needs a boost as it is very low because before I came to this country, business people in Egypt had been asking me about COMESA and how they can benefit from the organization. This shows that they do not know COMESA,” he added.
The Ambassador has since implored the new Secretary General to come up with means and ways of how to enhance the visibility of the regional bloc so that the business community and other stakeholders can see the benefit of the organization.
Secretary General (SG) Kapwepwe indicated that there is need for COMESA to double its efforts in terms of visibility to raise the profile, which will enable the creation of strategic partnerships and get a buy-in and confidence from the various stakeholders.
The SG said this should be done through the various programmes and projects that COMESA is implementing in the various Member States. She added that its true that most programmes being implemented in a most Member States are not known as COMESA programmes by most people.
“The first thing I need to do is ensure that I get to understand all the various programmes and projects being implemented in the Member States then see how we can ensure that visibility is made to make these programmes known by the public in the Member States,” She said.
Ms Kapwepwe further highlighted that COMESA needs to look at the Comparative advantage of various Member States in order to support regional integration programmes and projects. She commended Egypt for extending a hand of support towards the integration agenda of the organization.
She thanked the Egyptian Ambassador for being the first Head of delegation and Permanent representative to visit her and looked forward to further collaboration.