comesa_logo.gifZimbabwe is set to take part at the forthcoming COMESA Summit and Policy Organs meetings scheduled for the 4th to the 15th of October in Malawi.

The summit is meant to review progress in the implementation of the COMESA Customs Union and craft strategies to enhance trade cooperation among member states.

The 15th COMESA Summit, which will consist of a regional business forum, a two day Heads of State meeting and Policy Organs meetings, has among its agenda the strengthening of synergies among member states and ways of boosting investments in the regional trading bloc.

Over 500 delegates including representatives of the Zimbabwe business community as well as potential investors from China, United Arab Emirates, India and Europe are expected to attend the business forum set for the 11th to the 12th of October.

Other economic and political issues to take centre stage at the summit include global food prices, the effects of the tobacco industry on the value chain, food security and agro-industrialisation, tourism and branding Africa as the prime trade and investment location, and the effects of the international financial arena on Africa.

Running under the COMESA annual theme, “Harnessing Science and Technology for Development,” the business forum will be a high level platform for experts to openly discuss and engage in public debates with the private sector and government officials on how best to do business.

The business community’s recommendations are expected to be presented to the COMESA Heads of State Summit as Regional Declaration of the Private Sector.

Meanwhile, the local business community has stepped up efforts to comply with a COMESA regional customs bond in order to increase the country’s market share in the trading bloc.

The arrangement is being made following the launch of the COMESA Customs Union in 2009 to harmonise trading policies within the regional market through the removal of trade barriers.

In an interview on the sidelines of a three day meeting in Harare to review compliance by members states on  duty  reduction structures, COMESA  Regional  Customs  Union Transit Guarantee  Scheme Chairman, Mr  Lovemore Madawo said Zimbabwe is committed to the customs bond which among other factors seeks to level the playing field among trading partners.

“We are really committed to the bond and we hope this will be of importance to the local firms,” he said.

Representatives of COMESA revenue authorities, who are also participating in the meeting, are expected to harmonise their duty tariff structures ahead of the deadline by January next year.

It is anticipated that this will increase revenue inflows and improve the quality of goods and services as export receipts in the regional trading bloc are expected to increase from an average of US$8 billion to US$22 billion by 2015.