The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established by Treaty in November 1993 and was ratified a year later in December 1994. Its aim is to promote regional economic integration through trade and investment and attain a fully integrated, competitive regional economic community for its 19 member countries. The chosen path towards an economic community is through development integration involving a combination of trade development, investment promotion, infrastructure development, science and technology development and coordination.
Its trade development priorities include the formation of a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union with a Common External Tariff and a Monetary Union. Investment promotion activities focus on the principal sectors of industry, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and irrigation. For the services sector, the focus is on financial intermediation, insurance, tourism, human resource and other social infrastructure development. The strategy for programme implementation includes the identification and coordination of investment opportunities in all these sectors, promotion of higher productivity in agriculture and industry through training programs, development of a favorable investment environment, direct support to businesses through market development programmes, and programmes to mainstream gender.
The infrastructure development programme focuses on: the development and implementation of transit traffic facilitation programmes; the identification and coordination of regional investments in the transport, communications and energy sectors; and the promotion and coordination of institutional and policy reforms in transport, telecommunication, postal, energy and environment sectors.
The basic function of the Comesa Secretariat is to provide technical support and advisory services to the member states in the implementation of the Treaty. The Secretariat includes a section for technical co-operation.
The COMESA technical Committee on Statistical Matters recently approved a work statistical program that is aligned to the COMESA medium term strategic plan (MTSP) whose time span is from 2011 – 2015. The Committee’s work program currently covers interventions in Harmonised Consumer Price Index, International Comparison Program, National Accounts, FDI Statistics, Infrastructure and ICT statistics, International Merchandise Trade statistics and E-learning capacity building initiatives. The plan clearly elucidates targets for achievement within the time frame of the MTSP. Initially targets to mid 2013 have been approved as this period will provide an opportunity for a medium term review of the interventions and allow for adjustment and learning.
Received July 2010