President Yoweri Museveni

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Heads of State and Governments Summit will take place in Lusaka, Zambia on July 18-19, 2018, according to the latest press release issued by the bloc’s secretariat.

The Summit will be preceded by meetings of ministers and technical officials starting from July 9, 2018.

The Summit will be held under the theme: “COMESA: Towards Digital Economic Integration.) The theme is designed to rally member States towards the full adoption of digital technologies to reduce the disparities in the state of digitization across sectors in the Comesa region, particularly between high-tech and more traditional areas, and between countries and regions.

Delegations from the 19 members of the regional economic bloc are expected to arrive in Lusaka beginning July 7, 2018. Among the key issues in this year’s Summit Agenda is the consideration of membership to Comesa by Tunisia and Somalia.

“Negotiations for the admission of the two States have been concluded and what remains is the endorsement by the Comesa Council of Ministers and subsequent approval by the Heads of State Assembly. This will raise the number of Comesa States from the current to 19 to 21,” reads part of the press release.

The Summit is also expected to appoint a new Secretary General of Comesa to take over from Sindiso Ngwenya whose tenure of office is coming to an end.

Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Committee (IC) which comprises of Permanent/Principal Secretaries will be the curtain raiser for the 10 ten days Comesa annual event. The IC is responsible for the development of programmes and action plans in all fields of co-operation except in the finance and monetary sector.

IC will review progress reports presented by various sectoral committees and Comesa Institutions and make recommendations to the Council of Ministers for decision making.

The Council of Ministers will meet on July 13-14, 2018 to make decisions on various recommendations presented by the Intergovernmental Committee on the way forward on implementation of Comesa integration programmes.

The Summit timetable:

• The 38th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9 – 11 July 2018
• The ESA/EPA Senior Officials Meeting: 12 July 2018
• Peace and Security Committee Meeting 12 – 13 July 2018
• 13th COMESA Business Council Forum 12 – 13 July 2018
• The 38th Council of Ministers meeting 14 – 15 July 2018
• The ESA/EPA Council of Ministers’ Meeting 15 July 2018
• Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs 15 – 16 July 2018
• The 11th First Ladies Round Table 18 – 19 July 2018
• The 20th Summit of the COMESA Heads of State & Govt 18 – 19 July 2018