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Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya has called for a paradigm shift in the way regional integration is being implemented by introducing robust institutional and governance structures that are owned and led by Member States for full industrialization to take root.

He was speaking on Friday 14th October 2016 during the official opening ceremony of the 36th Council of Ministers meeting in Antananarivo, Madagascar whose theme is ‘Inclusive and Sustainable industrialization.

“….for the COMESA policy and strategy on industrialization to be rapidly and effectively implemented we need a paradigm shift regional integration that recognizes and accepts that it is not the mere adoption of policies and strategies  that will make things happen , but rather that we need robust institutional and governance structures that are member States owned and led,”

“In this regard, Council will be requested to review and pronounce itself on the proposed structure considered by the Inter-Governmental Committee which envisages member States taking the lead in championing sectors and sub sectors,” he added.

The speech which focused on the theme of the Summit pointed out that industrialization has been an existential issue since the independence of COMESA countries, yet with the exception of a few, the vision and dream of realizing industrialization has remained a mirage.

He posed:  “Why isn’t the region industrializing? What should be done with respect to policies and institutions? And why is it, that there are countries that in recent years have successfully achieved industrialization?”

He cited Mauritius for successful transformation from labour intensive to knowledge intensive industrialization and services.