Ambassadors from the European Union Delegation and the Embassy of Egypt based in Zambia held separate bilateral talks with the new Secretary General Madam Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe in her office.
The Ambassador of Egypt who is also Permanent Representative to COMESA H.E. Ahmed Mostafa was the first to pay a courtesy call on the SG on Wednesday 8th August. He reassured the SG of his country’s support to the implementation of COMESA programmes and projects in Member States.
Ambassador Mostafa however, expressed the need to enhance public awareness of the regional bloc and its activities amongst the Member States. Once COMESA and its programmes and projects are known, he said, people would have ownership of the programmes being implemented.
“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.
Madam Kapwepwe said COMESA will continue to heighten its presence and visibility in member States through creation of strategic partnerships and direct stakeholder engagement. She said this will build stakeholder confidence and to buy-in to the COMESA programmes. Said this will be done through the programmes and projects that COMESA is implementing in the Member States.
“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.
Further, COMESA will look at the Comparative advantage of various Member States in order to supporting regional integration programmes and projects and thanked the Ambassador for being the first Head of delegation and Permanent representative to visit her.
The EU Head of delegation and Special representative to COMESA Ambassador Alessandrio Mariani met the SG on Thursday 9th August and reaffirmed the EU’s support to regional integration.
He said the visit was necessary to give an opportunity for him and the SG to share ideas and experiences on ensuring continued collaboration with COMESA. He also mentioned that EU’s focus is on tangible results which entails making a difference to the COMESA region and its member states.
For example, under the current 11 European Development Fund COMESA envelop, key border posts and corridors in the region have been selected, these corridors remain critical to the COMESA region and it’s the vision of the EU to see that COMESA has a key role in facilitating and ensure the countries implementation
implementation of the various programmes.