—–Over 150 delegates from Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) member states have gathered in Lusaka to attend a 4-day regional meeting which is expected to culminate in the establishment of the African Community of Practice (AfCoP) for Eastern and Southern African.
The Regional Community of Practice (COP) for Eastern and Southern Africa is expected to contribute to the strengthening of the implementation of the regional reforms and integration policies.
The regional meeting, which is expected to further establish other structures to facilitate effective coordination and operation of the regional COP, has been organized and hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with COMESA.
In his key note address during the official opening of the regional meeting, Commerce Deputy Minister, Keith Mukata, highlighted some of the efforts that Zambia was making to ensure that the culture of managing development results is entrenched and institutionalized.
Mr Mukata also noted that the regional COP, together with COPs at National level, will collaborate with COMESA and its member states to make regional policies and programmes more result-oriented and increase the convergence of policy implementation and performance.
And COMESA Secretary General, Kipyego Cheluget, said the launch of the COMESA Chapter of Africa Community of Practice will help move the regional integration agenda forward and also ensure that programmes focus on activities that are geared towards making a change in the lives of the people COMESA serves.
Dr Cheluget stated that the COMESA approach to regional integration is the classical stage-by-stage gradual method of progressing from Preferential Trade Africa (PTA), Free Trade Area (FTA), Customs Union, Common Market and then to a Monetary Union.
And the Africa Development Bank Resident Representative, Freddie Kwesiga, noted that the regional approach is consistent with the ten-year strategy of the ADB for the period 2013-2022 which supports the continent’s transformation agenda based on the vision of a new Africa that aims to become a stable, prosperous and integrated continent with diverse and sustainable competitive economies fully integrated into the global economy.