Bujumbura, Tuesday, May 4, 2019: A joint meeting between COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe and Burundi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ezéchiel Nibigira, Trade and Tourism Minister, Jean Marie Niyokindi and Permanent Secretary of Finance, Marie Salomé Ndabahariye took place Tuesday this week in Bujumbura.
This was the Secretary General’s first visit to Burundi since her appointment in July last year. Key on the agenda was the implementation of regional integration programmes in Burundi.
Minister Nibigira affirmed Burundi’s commitment to the regional agenda spearheaded by COMESA.
He said: “Burundi is part and parcel of COMESA and committed to honour all our obligations.”
Minister Niyokindi informed the visiting COMESA head that the process to ratify both the Tripartite Free Trade Area (COMESA-EAC and SADC) and the African Continental FTA was underway. He said the proposal to ratify the FTAs will soon be tabled before Parliament and the Senate.
Ms. Kapwepwe assured the ministers that COMESA was ready to support the ratification process through sensitization of key stakeholders in Burundi to understand the benefits and support the ratification of the two trade regimes.
The expansion of the free trade area, she noted, provides immense opportunities for countries to participate in regional trade.
She assured Burundi of continued support and cited the ongoing capacity building project to the Burundi Bureau of Standards (BBN) which will ensure that the country has quality standards of goods with access to the regional and international markets.