Seychelles voices opinion at 17th COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit
Secretary of State, Ambassador Barry Faure, represented President James Michel at the Seventeenth COMESA (common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Summit, was held under the theme of ‘Consolidating Intra-COMESA trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development’, acknowledged the important role that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play in COMESA economies and their contribution to job and wealth creation.
It was agreed that member states will work with the COMESA Secretariat to further facilitate trade, infrastructure development, and provide capacity building to benefit the private sector, specifically MSMEs, across the region. The Joint Committee of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors were directed to consider the proposal of setting up a COMESA MSME Fund and a Women Economic Empowerment Fund that would facilitate access to affordable financing and capability building by ensuring the inclusion of women and the youth.
In his intervention on peace and security in the COMESA region, Secretary of State, Ambassador Faure reiterated the importance of peace, security and stability within the region and commended COMESA and the stakeholders of the international community on the initiatives taken to ensure peace and stability in Somalia and in the fight against piracy.
Although it was acknowledged that the threat of piracy has diminished in 2013, Ambassador Faure emphasised the importance of maintaining maritime security and building long lasting networks that tackle every aspect; from piracy, to drug trafficking, illegal fishing, pollution, arms trafficking, and other related threats to shared security; a notion highlighted by President James Michel.
The Secretary of State also took the opportunity to commend Madagascar on its return to the COMESA family and commented on the role Seychelles has played in providing support to the people of Madagascar as they return to constitutional normalcy.
Regarding Comoros, Ambassador Faure recognised the positive evolution in the efforts taken by all to consolidate peace and national reconciliation during the past year.
Another major subject discussed were natural resources as an anchor for transformation. The Secretary of State recommended that the Blue Economy concept be adopted in the COMESA development agenda as has already been accepted by the African Union. Other issues on the agenda were the domestication of the customs union instruments by Member States, industrialisation and infrastructure development of the COMESA region, the Tripartite Free Trade Area and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between ESA and EU.
The Secretary of State was accompanied by Ambassador Claude Morel, High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa and Permanent Representative to COMESA.