COMESA Council of Ministers have resolved to increase support to technology to raise product quality. Their decision was informed by a report presented to them showing that on average, the level of technological sophistication of exported products from the COMESA region was not only low, but has also declined.
The report noted that a narrow range of product sophistication across the member States has persisted. This notwithstanding that primary and resource based products in the COMESA region have continued to account for the largest share in the export basket. Except for Mauritius (43%), primary and resource based products together accounted for more than 60% of the export basket in all Member States, up from 50% in 2014.
For Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe these two categories accounted for more than 80% of the exports while for Burundi, DRC, Zambia, Comoros, Seychelles, Ethiopia and Djibouti they accounted for more than 90% of total exports.
“Put together, the products accounted for more than 60% of the export basket in all Member States, up from 50% in 2014,” the report said. “Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe accounted for more than 80% of the exports while Burundi, DRC, Comoros, Zambia, Seychelles, Ethiopia and Djibouti they accounted for more than 90% of total exports.”
In its 37th meeting in Lusaka, Zambia last week, the Council noted that inventing and increasing the use of machinery, technology and automated processes in productive undertakings was critical for COMESA States to produce, boost and sustain long term export growth of high value-added products.
Hence, the Council agreed to foster effective education and skills especially science, technology, engineering and math skills in the region.
“Increasing support to digital technology infrastructure and mainstreaming a culture of productivity at all levels of production processes will also greatly help develop innovation, technology and trade for the 19-member bloc,” said the Minister in their final report.