In Kinshasa DRC, Thursday
THE 17th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit for Heads of State and Government closed here yesterday with a call for member states to improve the living standards of the people in the regional bloc.
And President Michael Sata yesterday left Kinshasa after attending the two-day COMESA heads of State and Government summit held under the theme ‘consolidating Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.’
Mr Sata, who was accompanied by First Lady Christine Kaseba and his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, George Chellah, left N’djili International Airport aboard the Presidential Challenger jet at 16:00 hours Zambian time.
He was seen off by Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) First Minister Matata Ponyo and Zambia’s ambassador to that country Fidelis Kapoka.
Before his departure, Mr Sata and Dr Kaseba were part of the Heads of State, Government officials and first Ladies that witnessed the reading of communiqués for the summit and the first spouses’ round table meeting.
Mr Sata was one of only three Heads of State who remained until the close of the summit after others had left.
Other Presidents who sat through the summit apart from Mr Sata were Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
During the official closing of the summit, Mr Kabila, who assumed the Chairmanship of COMESA on Wednesday, said the regional bloc would continue to put in place strategies to improve the living standards of people.
Mr Kabila urged member states to continue with the current efforts of sustaining and adhering to peace, saying the region was the best instrument which could be used to enhance peace among countries.
He said the region should also continue working on infrastructure development such as roads, marines, information and communication technology and others for easy movement of people, services and goods in the region.
Mr Kabila further said that COMESA member countries should use their natural resources to produce local commodities for the benefit of the people in the region.
He said that COMESA member states had a bigger challenge of playing a bigger role in the integration and creation of wealth in the region.
Earlier, DRC First Lady Marie Olive Lembe Kabila presented the first spouses communiqué to the main assembly, calling on COMESA member states to work on the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially those touching on education, health and maternal care.
The communiqué was from the first spouses round table meeting that touched on a number of issues including health, education, gender based violence and gender equality.
Ms Kabila said the regional bloc should work on laws and strategies to fight gender based violence and promote gender equality.
She further said that the first ladies were concerned with the plight of many vulnerable women and girls in the COMESA region.
Djibouti President, Mr Guelleh, gave a vote of thanks to Mr Kabila and the people of DRC for hosting the summit.
In Kinshasa DRC, Thursday