comesaBy\ Mekki Elmograbi

The summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) scheduled from 20-31 March, 2015 has started in Addis Ababa at AU Headquarters.

The first activities of summit are the 34th COMESA policy organ meetings and two ministerial summits then it will be concluded by the summit of heads of state and government from March 30-31.

The 19-member regional bloc aims to achieve sustainable economic and social progress through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs but the widest bloc in Africa still facing some challenges in implementing the essential agreements on these issues.

During the 17th COMESA summit held in Kinshasa in February 2014, the heads of states have chosen the theme for the 18th COMESA, “inclusive and sustainable industrialization”.

The nineteen countries of COMESA are: Burundi, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

COMESA established in December 1981 as a preferential trade area for Eastern and Southern Africa, (PTA) in Lusaka and then transformed into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, in Kampala in 1993.