The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has commended the Arab Republic of Egypt for playing a dominant and pivotal role in its (COMESA) growth from a regional to a continental and international economic body.
COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya praised Egypt’s diversified economic base which has positioned the Arab nation as the largest contributor to COMESA’s intra-regional trade registering exports of US$ 2.3 billion and imports of US$961.8 million.
Mr. Ngwenya was speaking at the COMESA secretariat in Lusaka today when he received credentials from the permanent representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to COMESA, Mr. Ragai Tawfik Nasr, who is also Egyptian Ambassador to Zambia.
He noted that Egypt has dominated the increasing volumes of intra-regional investment and foreign direct investment into the COMESA region by accounting for 33 percent of all market inflows.
And Ambassador Ragai Nasr said his country was ready to work closely with COMESA to consolidate trade and investment among member states.
Mr. Nasr said his country would ensure that there was increased flow of Egyptian medicine and increased agricultural from his country.
He disclosed that his country, which is being led by a civilian interim government and not the military, was firmly making strides to return to democratic governance.
Ambassador Nasr said presidential elections were expected to be held by April this year after 98 percent of 20 million Egyptians voted in favour of a new constitution in a recently held referendum.
And Japanese Ambassador to Zambia, Kiyoshi Koinuma, who also presented credentials as Japan’s permanent representative to COMESA, said his country was committed to improving basic economic infrastructure in Zambia and the COMESA region.
Mr. Koinuma said Japan intends to increase foreign direct investment in COMESA by strengthening trade and investment partnerships with the regional economic body.
Ambassador Koinuma said Japan and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) have partnered with Zambia and Botswana to construct the Kazungula Bridge at a cost of US$100 million whose construction works are expected to take three years.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ngwenya thanked Japan for being an all weather development partner through the various economic projects it was funding.
Some of the projects which Japan is funding are the US$6 million Zambia – Tanzania – Kenya road inter connector to improve road transport service and other investments in energy, trade, agriculture and technology transfer.