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The COMESA region still has a lot to do in terms of attracting investment in the immense natural resources the region is endowed with and on how to negotiate contracts with these investors.

Speaking during the meeting for experts on the revised COMESA Common Investment Area (CCIA) on 23rd August 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Kayula Siame said while the world is celebrating a strong recovery in Foreign Direct Investment during the year, the region has lagged behind in investment.

Mrs Siame said the share of COMESA with its $19.6 billion represents a ratio of 1.1% of the total FDI flow, which she described as very little.

“At the same time, even though there is a long way to go, Member States have undertaken a number of reforms to improve their respective enabling environment for business. Countries have worked on key indicators and the good work continues”, she said.

The World Bank Doing Business Report 2016 has ranked some countries in the region at different positions, with four countries being in the top 100. These are Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles and Zambia.

Assistant Secretary-General in charge of Finance and Administration Ambassador Nagla El-Hussainy indicated that the long awaited COMESA Common Investment Area (CCIA) framework whose objective is to attract foreign investments and encourage domestic investments in the region, and at the same time allow free movement of capital goods and investors comes as a remedy to a vacuum in the regional investment regulatory area.

“Ladies and gentlemen, once adopted and signed by Member States we are sure that it will be a great milestone in reaching the ultimate goal of COMESA in relation to facilitating investment flows in our region, using the required standards on investment treatment and facilitation in pursuit of the sustainable development for our countries”, Nagla said.