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Vice-President of Zambia Urges Regional Collaboration and Prioritization at COMESA Council of Ministers Meeting

In a compelling address during the 44th Meeting of the COMESA Council of Ministers, Mrs. W. K. Mutale Nalumango, MP, the Vice-President and Acting President of the Republic of Zambia, highlighted key regional priorities and challenges facing COMESA member states.  

Addressing the COMESA members, Mrs. Nalumango expressed gratitude for the effective policy and strategic guidance provided by the Council, emphasizing its crucial role in implementing the agenda of regional integration.

The Vice-President commended the COMESA Secretariat, led by Secretary General Madam Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, for successfully hosting the Summit in Lusaka on June 8, 2023. 

The Summit, she noted, provided member states with a platform to address significant issues, resulting in a communiqué that outlined the organization’s policy direction.

Mrs. Nalumango highlighted the importance of regional collaboration and praised the implementation of One Stop Border Facilities in member states. 

However, she acknowledged the challenge issued by the Chairperson of the Authority, urging COMESA to aim for No Stop Border Posts in support of a borderless COMESA region.

The Vice-President addressed global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and regional conflicts, which have led to a surge in global oil and fuel prices, impacting commodity prices due to disruptions in global supply chains. 

She emphasized the severe fiscal and exchange rate pressures experienced across many COMESA countries.

Amidst these challenges, Mrs. Nalumango underscored the need for the region to prioritize key areas contributing to development, productivity, and competitiveness. Prioritization should focus on value addition, diversification, embracing new technologies, and environmental protection. 

Additionally, she emphasized the importance of supporting all segments of society, including women, youth, and the vulnerable.

The Vice-President called for leveraging opportunities presented by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area. These agreements widen markets, strengthen value addition, and stimulate long-term investments in infrastructure development.

Mrs. Nalumango commended the Secretariat’s efforts in automating core processes to improve efficiency and workflows, recognizing the importance of automation and digitalization in the current global context.

In conclusion, she expressed appreciation for the commitment of development partners to COMESA’s regional integration programs and encouraged nurturing these partnerships for the benefit of the region and the continent as a whole.

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