GIS - 01 June, 2020: The 8th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Extraordinary Council of Ministers, held recently via video conference, concluded with a series of outcomes and recommendations.
The objective of the Extraordinary Council was to deliberate on important issues pertaining to COVID-19 response and mitigation strategies to be adopted by the COMESA. The Council considered the Draft Guidelines for the Movement of Goods and Services across the COMESA Region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following recommendations were adopted:
o The development of an online platform for exchange of information on availability of essential products within the COMESA region;
o Member States to publish and share any newly introduced trade and customs-related measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the list of essential goods identified to facilitate customs clearance and border requirements;
o The Secretariat to work with the National Task Forces (Trade and Health) on COVID-19 in the implementation of the Guidelines and to conduct a study on the impact of COVID-19 in Member States with a view to responding to and mitigating the spread of the pandemic whilst taking on board private sector contribution in the fight against COVID-19; and
o The Secretariat to undertake a mapping exercise of essential medicines and equipment that can be sourced from the region.
COMESA was established in 1994 ‘as an organisation of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people. It comprises a wide-ranging series of objectives which include the promotion of peace and security in the region.
Its main focus remains on the formation of a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual states. With its 21 Member States, population of over 540 million and global trade in goods worth US$ 235 billion, COMESA forms a major market place for both internal and external trading.
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