PSs Retreat to Discuss Challenges Facing COMESA

Lusaka, Thursday, November 22, 2018: Permanent Secretaries and their representatives from the 21 COMESA Member States began a one-day informal retreat to discuss some of the urgent challenges that impede the effectiveness and timely delivery of the mandate of the Secretariat’s and semi-autonomous institutions.

Among these are: the current financing model, the implementation of the approved organizational structure; the need to enhance the new external audit framework, the modalities of building and establishing a New COMESA Headquarters and the implementation of the proposed resource mobilization framework, strategy and plans.

In her opening statement, Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe observed that the current funding model need review to make it fully responsive to the challenges faced by the Secretariat such as timely payments of contributions by Member States and innovative methods of resource mobilization.

“The COMESA Secretariat has over time experienced increased dependency on Cooperating Partners resulting in the current scenario where funding from Co-operating Partners constitutes approximately 70% of the COMESA total Annual budget,” she said.

This is mainly attributed to the fact that the current funding from Members States is not adequate to meet both for the recurrent and programme related expenditure of COMESA.

“With the rapid changes taking place at regional, continental and global levels, there is need to be more proactive than ever and to continuously improve on these processes and systems,” she said.

In his address, Zambia’s Deputy Secretary for Cabinet, Mr Patrick Kangwa observed that with the changes taking place at regional, continental and global level, COMESA cannot afford to sit back and conduct its business as usual.

“To remain relevant in this dynamic environment,” he said, “It is imperative that we reflect on both the efficiencies of our organisation and its contribution to regional integration and the welfare of its Member States.”

“We need to continue building on our collective strengths and deal decisively with matters that seem to weaken our capacity to remain visible and a force to reckon with on the African continent,” Mr Kangwa said.

Since its establishment, COMESA has grown from a nine-member organisation to 21 Member States with over ten autonomous institutions, some of which have expanded beyond the regional economic block to become continental. These include the Trade and Development Bank, the African Trade Insurance Company, the Zep-Re Reinsurance Company and the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute.

The deliberations of the retreat are expected to assist in the decisions of the COMESA Council of Ministers which meets on Sunday, November 25, 2018 in Lusaka.


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