Lusaka, Tuesday, July 30, 2019: COMESA is developing a Cross Regional Programme for Southern Africa to address irregular migration and promote regular labour mobility within the region to spur regional trade and investment.
A total of 20 million euros has been provided under the 11th European Union Development Fund, (EDF11) for this project. Among the issues expected to be addressed in this project matters relating to Mutual Recognition of Qualifications across the region.
Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe disclosed this when she received the credentials of the new International Labour Organization Country Director to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and as Special Representative to COMESA Mr. George Okutho on Tuesday this week
She said COMESA and ILO will work together on issues such as Mutual Recognition of Qualifications, more so to facilitate trade in services in the region and this was reaffirmed by the ILO Director.
“We need to manage migration issues with very sober minds,” Mr Okutho said. “The issue of Mutual Recognition of Qualifications is very cardinal for migrant labor as most people are scared to move to other countries because they think their qualifications won’t be recognized in another Member State.”
He further indicated that ILO is committed to ensuring that all Member States come up with an agreed standard of qualification that shall be acceptable in the region so that equal opportunities are availed to those that want to work outside their country.
The SG observed that in the last 20 years, trade in services has been the most dynamic segment of international trade, growing faster than trade in goods. She noted that developing countries and transition economies have played an increasingly important role in this area, raising their share in the exports of world services from a quarter to one-third over this period.
“It would be very prudent to jointly identify additional programmes that we could implement together for the benefit of the entire COMESA through experience sharing,” she said. “COMESA is therefore keen on promoting trade in services among its Member States to increase the share of services in intra-COMESA trade.”
Mr. Okutho said the collaboration with COMESA will enhance implementation of the programme on free movement of persons and goods as the only way of fulfilling regional integration initiatives which Member States ascribe to.
He stressed the need to address challenges that come up with movement of persons such as international organized crime, human trafficking and smuggling adding that the two organisations should benefit from the demographic dividends of migration for development.