Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir said Egypt is keen on achieving economic integration among the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), for being the best choice to achieve development and prosperity for the bloc’s states and peoples.
He added Egypt also seeks to actively take part in the COMESA programs in various fields, noting the Egyptian government is coordinating with the governments of sisterly countries to remove all obstacles to attaining regional economic integration.
Samir made the comments during his chairmanship of the 43rd COMESA Council of Ministers’ meeting that was held in the Zambian capital Lusaka, with the participation of Zambian Vice President Mutale Nalumango and COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe, as well as ministers from the bloc’s states.
The trade minister went on to say Egypt works during its current presidency of COMESA to encourage the Egyptian business community to boost cooperation with their counterparts in the bloc’s states, which in turn contributes to increasing intra-regional trade.
He noted that the total trade volume between Egypt and COMESA countries reached USD 4.2 billion in 2021.
Samir noticed that Egyptian exports to the COMESA hit USD 2.8 billion, while Egyptian imports from the bloc amounted to USD 1.4 billion in 2021.
The trade minister explained that trade exchange between COMESA countries that stood at USD 13 billion in 2021 was affected by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, calling for continuing joint efforts to promote intra-trade in a way that positively reflects on the economies of the bloc’s member states.
The minister called on COMESA member states to join forces to strengthen intra-trade and collaborate with Egypt during its chairmanship of the bloc to implement the vision aimed at boosting regional economic and commercial cooperation and taking serious and tangible steps to implement the initiatives presented by Cairo, on top of which is the regional industrial integration initiative.
He underlined that the current global challenges provide a stronger impetus to COMESA member states to step up efforts to bring about economic integration and create a conducive business environment.