Importance of Economic Integration highlighted at 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit
The Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Ahmed Afif, led the Seychelles delegation to the 22nd Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Heads of State and Government Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, which took place on 8th June 2023. The opening ceremony of this year’s Summit witnessed the transfer of the Chair of the Authority from the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to the President of the Republic of Zambia.
The Summit was the first to be held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The theme centered on economic integration for a thriving COMESA region, with emphasis on green investment, value addition, and tourism. In his address to the Summit, the Vice President recognised the importance of green investments and reiterated the need for greater attention to be directed towards investments in relation to the ocean. He commended the Secretariat’s efforts in developing a COMESA Regional Blue Economy Strategy which calls for increased investment in the blue economy sector.
Furthermore, Vice President Afif stressed on the importance of value addition, which was also discussed at length during the preceding Business Council Forum. He emphasized that through investments in technology, research and development, and skills training, the region can transform its products into high-quality finished goods, thus creating value addition. He also made reference to tourism which is an important sector for all member states and the numerous benefits it brings towards the economies of the region.
The Vice President had the opportunity to have a brief interaction with the President of the Host country, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema in which they expressed their satisfaction of the ongoing status of the bilateral relations between Seychelles and Zambia as well as collaboration at both regional and international level. Vice President Afif commended the signing of the General Cooperation Agreement between the two countries which will open avenues for further enhancing these relations.
Accompanying Vice President Afif at the Summit were Mr. Claude Morel, Ambassador to Zambia and Permanent Representative to COMESA, Mrs. Nisha Chengo, Second Secretary, and Desk Officer for COMESA at the Foreign Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Seychelles in the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Jimmy Butt.