THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) is driving efforts towards facilitating a regional-wide post Covid-19 economic recovery model that will assist member States overcome the adverse impacts of the pandemic.
The Comesa region and Africa at large, have not been spared of the disruptive Covid-19 effects after the pandemic, which was first detected in China last December, spread across the world. The subsequent lockdown measures and travel restrictions adopted by the global community severely impacted on trade and investment.
Zimbabwe is a member of the 21-member States regional grouping.
Going forward there is a need to “prioritise a regional-wide post-Covid-19 recovery plan” that will assist member states get their economies back on their feet, said Comesa in a latest statement. This includes scaling up resource mobilisation efforts towards supporting the plan.
“What we need is a regional approach for economic recovery, with a harmonised plan for all member states, as this will enable us to forge partnerships with the development partners as opposed to going alone,” said Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, the Comesa secretary general.
The regional block stated that an agreement to drive inclusive post Covid-19 recovery was discussed during a recent meeting conducted virtually between Comesa secretary general Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe and Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Nandcoomar Bodha, whose ministry is in charge of coordination of Comesa programmes.
Comesa has also been lauded for cutting its budget by 10 percent and passing the benefit to the member States. The move will reduce members’ annual subscriptions to the regional economic bloc by the same percentage.
Minister Bodha urged Comesa to adopt a no-budget increase policy to help the member countries in their economic recovery efforts.
Ms Kapwepwe said Comesa has actively engaged development partners including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union and the World Bank among others, to support member States during the pandemic and after.
So far, Ms Kapwepwe said various support facilities have been secured including a US$850 000 commitment from the AfDB to support the development of pharmaceutical products and creation of value chains for Comesa member States.