Magazine article New African

COMESA Unleashing Africa's Potential

Magazine article New African

COMESA Unleashing Africa's Potential

Article excerpt

As Africa's largest regional trading and economic block, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), plays a crucial role in attracting investment into its 19 member states. It is with this in mind that the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (COMESA-RIA) will be hosting a two-day high-level Investment Forum in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh next month. Muzondwa Banda previews the meeting.

The opportunities and challenges of investing in Africa can be fraught with misconceptions and stereotyping and as such, many investment prospects on the continent go begging. Hence the COMESA Investment Forum, which takes place from 12-13 April, under the auspices of the Egyptian President Mohamed Hosny Mubarak, will initiate dialogue aimed at creating ideal frameworks that can help drive investment and economic growth opportunities in COMESA and Africa as a whole.

"By attending this forum you will see that COMESA is truly open for business and that this vast, largely untapped market is ripe for investment," states COMESA secretary general, Sindiso Ngwenya.

Established in 1994, as a successor to the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA), COMESA boasts of 19 countries with a combined population of almost 500 million people and a huge GDP potential.

COMESA-RIA seeks to optimise investment and trade opportunities in the region by developing networks, alliances, and co-operation with other Regional Economic Communities and international institutions, in order to achieve high investment levels. It also seeks to transform the region into an internationally competitive investment area, which allows free movement of capital, labour, goods and services across the borders of member states and thereby facilitates sustainable growth of private domestic and foreign investment in the region.

"This conference will serve as a platform to discuss investment opportunities and to forge genuine partnerships between the COMESA member states and the international business communities," says Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Egypt's minister of investment, who is one of the key protagonists in the country's recent economic reform programme. …

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