Plans Afoot to Publicize Common Investment Area Agreement

Lusaka, April, 27, 2020: The COMESA Secretariat intends to mount a public awareness campaign on the benefits of the regional common investment area agreement in an effort to encourage countries to ratify and domesticate the regional document.

The COMESA Common Investment Area (CCIA) agreement is a promotional tool meant to guide Member States in harmonizing best practices in investment and facilitating private sector development. Among the major programmes envisaged is granting national treatment equally to COMESA investors and citizens of all Member States.

Since its adoption, in 2017, no Member State has ratified or domesticated the CCIA.

“The instrument will ensure the investment and investor’s protection and encourage Member States to carry out reforms and liberalization by opening of economic sectors for growth to all investors, particularly the ones originating from the region,” says Mr Joseph Mpunga, Senior Investment Officer at COMESA Secretariat.

The CCIA was adopted by the COMESA Authority during the 2007 Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya. In the years that followed, the CCIA went through reviews to take into consideration the emerging issues in the area of international investment regimes and specific standards regarding investor protection. It also covers the rights and obligations of investors and those of the host countries.

Mr Mpunga said: “We plan to conduct the public awareness campaign in the region so that we can sensitize the stakeholders on the importance of this document and the need for its ratification,” he said adding that the campaigns will be conducted in conformity with the health guidelines in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and UNCTAD, worked with the Secretariat in the review, which was finally adopted by the Council of Ministers in November 2017.

The revised CCIA is aligned to the Pan African Investment Code championed by the African Union. This Framework will provide a platform for the investment chapter that is the integral part of the Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

In addition, the framework has in its provisions dispute settlement mechanisms privileging national and regional conflicts resolution. The instrument comprises in total 45 articles and 4 schedules.

Upon implementation, the CCIA is expected to improve the overall ease of doing business environment in the region, cooperation in investment promotion among Member States through Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements and other investment agreements.