ambia has urged African countries to effectively manage their natural resources while fostering partnerships to maximize their potential. Chipoka Mulenga, the Minister of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, emphasised the importance of coherent and complementary policies and strategies to support the continent’s goal of building a prosperous and integrated Africa. These remarks were made during the 16th business forum of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), attended by representatives from 21 member states.
Under the theme of “Economic Integration for a Thriving COMESA Anchored on Green Investment, Value Addition, and Tourism,” the forum aligns with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, aiming to accelerate the recovery of member states from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced disasters. Marday Venkatasamy, President of the COMESA Business Council, anticipates that the forum will propose specific measures to bolster member states’ recovery and exploit their enormous growth potential.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of the private sector, participants emphasized its importance in driving sustainable development within the region. COMESA Secretary-General, Chileshe Kapwepwe, highlighted the significance of public-private sector partnerships in boosting regional trade. The COMESA secretariat is collaborating with the COMESA Business Council on various initiatives to foster private sector development.
Zambia’s call for African nations to overcome investment and trade barriers resonates against the backdrop of contrasting realities—abundant natural resources juxtaposed with persistent high poverty levels and unemployment. Minister Mulenga stressed the need for productive capacities to harness these resources and build stronger economies through industrial development.
The one-day business forum, organized by the COMESA Business Council, precedes the 22nd COMESA Summit of Heads of State and Government, set to launch in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, on Thursday. The event marks a significant step towards enhancing economic integration and promoting sustainable development in the region.
As African countries navigate their economic trajectories, the focus on managing natural resources, encouraging regional integration, and promoting private sector involvement offers a balanced and insightful approach to unlocking Africa’s potential for growth and prosperity.