COMESA Policy Organs Meetings Kicks-off in Zambia

Lusaka, Tuesday, November 20, 2018: The 39th COMESA Policy Organs meetings began today in Lusaka, Zambia to run until Sunday 25 November 2018. They include meetings of the Committee on Administration and Budget, the Intergovernmental Committee and the Council of Ministers. All meetings will take place at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka.

The Council of Ministers meeting will take place on Sunday 25 November 2018 to consider recommendations of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IC) whose meetings will be conducted on 23 -24 November 2018. This will be the 39th meeting of the IC and will bring together Principal and Permanent Secretaries from Member States to address technical and administrative matters before forwarding them to the Council for decision- making.

Among the key items on the agenda includes the financing of the COMESA budget where the status report on the Member States payment of their annual subscriptions to the organization will be provided. A new resource mobilization strategy that has been developed by the Secretariat, proposing innovative ways of financing will also be tabled before the IC and Council.

The adoption and implementation of this strategy is expected to make COMESA financially sustainable and reduce dependence on development partners for implementation of regional integration programmes.

The COMESA Administration and Budget Committee will hold its 39th meeting on November 20 and 21, to discuss budget proposals and administrative issues for presentation to the IC and eventually to the Council.

Other key items on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Committee and the Council relate to the implementation of the sugar safeguard granted to Kenya in July this year, the review of the workings and processes of conferring a Certificate of Origin for export products under the COMESA Free Trade Area.

On Friday, November 16, 2018, an extra ordinary meeting of the COMESA Trade and Customs Committee convened at the Secretariat and prepared a report on the above issues which will be presented to the IC on Friday, November 23, 2018.

For the first time, the PSs will hold a retreat a day prior to the IC meeting, to deal with four issues identified as challenging to the Secretariat. These are: the funding model of COMESA; the organizational structure; the external audit framework and the construction of a new COMESA headquarters. The objective is to provide ample time for the PSs to gain deeper understanding of the issues before they are discussed at the plenary of the IC.

The meetings will take place against the backdrop of an expanded membership of COMESA, that has risen from 19 to 21, following the admission, of Tunisia and Somalia in July this year. Similarly, it will be the first policy organs meetings in the tenure of Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary General of COMESA since her appointment.

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