Implementation of the Regional Industrial Strategy set to begin as COMESA Ministers Meet

Nairobi, Thursday, June 20, 2019: Ministers responsible for industry and infrastructure began a two days meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Among the key outcomes of the meeting is the  approval of the Action Plan of the COMESA Industrial Strategy and Regional Guidelines on Local Content Policy by the ministers of industry.

The adoption of the two instruments will pave way for the implementation of the COMESA Industrial Strategy, which is aimed at supporting structural transformation of regional economies through sustainable and inclusive industrialization.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Industrialization and Cooperatives Hon. Peter Munya and COMESA Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe made key note address at the meeting.

“We cannot talk about industrialization and Infrastructure development without addressing Local Content policies and regulations as appropriate economic instruments which could be employed to advance regional development by harnessing locally available resources,” Hon. Munya told the ministers.

He observed that the COMESA and Africa in general, were endowed with vast resources- both material and human and it was time the region came up with strategies to harness them for their own development.

He said: “In order to reap full benefits of Local Content, there is need for goodwill and commitment of political leadership, professional, captains of industry and consumers in general.”

The COMESA Industrial Strategy was adopted by the Ministers of Industry in September 2017 and directed the Secretariat to develop a well-costed Action Plan with timelines and responsibilities.

At the same meeting, the ministers directed the Secretariat to come up with Regional Policy Guidelines on Local Content as one way of the regional Industrialization agenda.

The Ministers of Industry are therefore expected to adopt the recommendations of the technical experts that met from Monday to Wednesday this week leading to the full implementation of the COMESA Industrial Strategy.

Minister Munya said these will help the region develop and inculcate a preferential taste for its own goods and services. Appropriate legislations, he noted,  will will go a long way in supporting these initiatives.

In her statement, COMESA Secretary General stressed the need for enabling infrastructure to support regional economies.

“The current infrastructure deficit on the continent is huge and a constraint on Africa’s growth potential, but this should however, be viewed as an opportunity for investment and a chance to leapfrog to new, more efficient technologies,” she said.

Currently, COMESA is promoting investments in cheaper and reliable energy sources, such as regional power interconnectors.

With support from the European Union, COMESA has financed part of the feasibility study for the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya (ZTK) Power Interconnector at a cost of 4.4 million Euros. The ZTK project is expected to be completed in 2021.

The ZTK will link the North – South Power Transmission Corridor, thereby making it possible for power trade between the East African Power Pool and the Southern African Power Pool.

The ministerial meetings on industry and infrastructure, which were preceded by their respective technical committee meetings were the first to be held concurrently in the same venue, thus underlining their complementarity value.

The Chair of the COMESA Council of Ministers Madame Lantosoa Rakotomalala, Minister of Commerce and Industry addressed the meeting.

The meetings come to an end on Friday.

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