Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reviewed the COMESA summit’s medium-term strategic action plan for the period 2021-2025, which aims to deepen economic integration, regional integration and development among the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
This strategy is in harmony with the African Continental Free Trade Zone Agreement, he said, which guarantees preferential trade among the group’s countries, aiming to establish a free trade zone between member states to develop into a customs union and then a common market.
Sisi assumed the presidency of COMESA summit on Tuesday, which is being held in the New Administrative Capital.
President Sisi sent the following messages, summarized as follows:
- Egypt encourages land connection projects between the countries of the continent, foremost of which is the Cairo-Cape Town project, which passes through most of the COMESA countries.
- Egypt seeks to complete the efforts made to study the feasibility of the project to connect the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Victoria, an ambitious project to facilitate free trade and the movement of individuals between the countries of the region.
- Egypt will work to transfer its expertise in the electricity and energy sector to member states, to encourage initiatives aimed at facing the challenges faced by member states regarding energy shortages.
- Egypt encourages the movement of investments in the region, which requires more efforts from the member states and the General Secretariat to use the unique components enjoyed by the COMESA countries.
- Egypt is working on preparing a list to fill the necessary data gaps, which will provide clear investment opportunities that are presented to the business community and financing institutions to work on their implementation that will increase economic growth rates and providing more job opportunities for the citizens of the region.
- Egypt supports the region’s integration in the health sector, and is aware of the importance of the Common Market to study the matter quickly and work out a clear plan to develop regional integration in this sector, as well as harmonize national policies to ensure easy access to medical and pharmaceutical products among member states.
- Egypt aims to move forward to raise awareness among citizens of the region to benefit from vaccinations to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the region.
- Egypt will seek to encourage all initiatives that contribute to facilitating the business environment, especially initiatives aimed at digital transformation and financial inclusion to serve small and medium companies, as well as all initiatives aimed at encouraging the participation of businesswomen and youth in the process of economic integration, in addition to encouraging intra-investment in the sector in the various productive sectors.
- Egypt will work to increase the engagement of the Egyptian business community with its counterparts from the grouping countries to take advantage of the merits brought about by the agreement to the Egyptian companies and companies from the member states and to work on the development of joint inter-trade in accordance with the principle of mutual benefit that achieves the interests of all.
- Egypt remains confident that COMESA possesses the capabilities and resources that qualify it to overcome the current challenges imposed by coronavirus pandemic and move forward in the process of economic integration.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm