Sata in Kinshasa, DRC for the COMESA summit, which starts tomorrow morning

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President Michael Sata
President Michael Sata

The annual COMESA Summit will now take place on 26-27 February 2014 and not on 14-15 December 2013 as earlier planned. Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya says “unforeseen circumstances” have led to the postponement of the event which was to be held in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

However, high level consultations are currently going on. Preparatory meetings will therefore be aligned with the new dates. These are: the Administrative and Budgetary Committee, the Intergovernmental Committee, COMESA Business Forum, the Council of Ministers, the Economic Partnership Agreements Council of Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the First Spouses’ Roundtable.

The Summit is the supreme organ of the regional organization upon which major policy decisions are made. It is responsible for the general policy direction and control of the performance of the executive functions of COMESA

COMESA Summits are held in various member States, with the host Government and the COMESA Secretariat bearing joint responsibility for their organization. Usually, the country hosting the Summit assumes the chairmanship of the Authority for the year. Currently, the chair of the Authority is H. E. Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda who took the mantle in November 2012. Normally, the Summit takes place every year when the Authority (comprised of the Heads of State and Government) takes decisions by consensus. Extraordinary Summit can however be held at the request of any member of the Authority, provided that one-third of the members of the Authority support such a request. The last extraordinary Summit was held in 2000 at the official launching of the COMESA Free Trade Area.

At the end of each meeting, the leaders issue a communiqué regarding their decisions. The Authority sometimes issues declarations or statements on matters of particular concern. The directives and decisions taken by the Authority are binding on all member States and the other organs to which they are addressed.

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