COMESA will continue using eminent personalities from the region in addressing conflicts and entrenching good governance. Speaking when she addressed members of the COMESA Committee of Elders, Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said the economic potential in the region can only be harnessed in an environment of peace and stability, hence the important role of the committee.
The meeting was conducted virtually, on Tuesday 23rd June 2020, to review and discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the COMESA Region. Also, on the agenda were discussions on how to promote peace and security to support the regional integration agenda of COMESA.
In attendance were Ambassador Ashraf Gamal Rashed (Egypt), who is the current chair of the committee, Bishop Mary Nkosi (Malawi), Professor Judith Bahemuka (Kenya), Ambassador Patrice Cure (Mauritius), Ambassador Marie Pierre Lloyd (Seychelles) and Dr. Mohamed Abdelghaffer (Sudan).
Secretary General briefed them on the initiatives the Secretariat has taken to support Member States’ respond to COVID-19. These include the development of regional guidelines to support the continued trade in essential commodities and medical supplies, convening of Council of Ministers meeting that led to decisions to develop an online information sharing platform to connect manufacturers and importers, and to conduct a study of the impact of COVID 19 on trade in the member States.
During the meeting which was organized by COMESA Governance Peace and Security Programme, the Elders stressed the need for all countries to support each other in order to effectively fight COVID-19 and the effects of the measures that have been put in place.
The COMESA Committee of Elders was established by the COMESA Heads of States in 2006 to complement peace-making and peace-building capacity of the Office of COMESA Secretary General. Since its establishment, members of the Committee have led more than 30 COMESA elections observer missions, pre-election assessment missions and mediation support among other peace and security related assignments.
The elders have also represented the Secretariat in various forums including meetings of the African Union and other similar bodies a side-meetings of the United Nations General Assembly.
Other members of the committee include, Madam Hope Kivengere (Uganda) who is the current Vice Chairperson, Dr Sabine Ntaruthimana (Burundi), and Ambassador Dr. Simbi Mubako of Zimbabwe.