Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Lusaka , June 2014 - ECA should fill the economic leadership vacuum on the continent says Secretary General for  the Common Market for East and Southern Africa - COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya. 
Speaking at a bilateral meeting held between the two institutions in Lusaka, Ngwenya said that ECA had the systems and technical expertise to offer economic leadership for the African continent. “ECA should not apologize for its role in Africa, it is equipped with everything to shape dialogue and influence the policy direction. It is time to set our own development agenda and ECA should lead the way as an African think tank”, said Ngwenya. 
The COMESA head whose institution forms a major African market-place spanning across 19 African member States, a population of over 389 million and annual import and export bills of US$32 and US$82 billion respectively called for closer ties with ECA and other stakeholders on the continent. “Africa must now walk the talk, COMESA is an institution you helped set up, we should work closer and we are better placed to push the agenda of the continent because we transcend the artificial boundaries.” 
On his part, ECA Southern Africa Office Director Said Adejumobi said that ECA sought partnership with COMESA in three areas including infrastructure development, Industrialization and natural resources. 
The two institutions agreed to work on a framework for Industrial transformation by putting in place three policies on fiscal, monetary and infrastructure. In the area of natural resources, the two institutions will accelerate the existing work in implementing the African Mining Vision on beneficiation and policy. 
The two institutions further agreed to partner on the SRO-Data centre. COMESA has a wealth of economic and investment data on southern Africa which ECA plans access, analyze and develop policy alternatives for governments in the region. 
The meeting was organized by the ECA office in southern Africa as part of a series of meetings with stakeholders in the region. Other meetings have been held with governments and partners in Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.