The Herald (Harare)

23 November 2012

East Africa: President in Kampala for Comesa Summit

President Mugabe arrived here Thursday to attend the 16th Heads of State and Government Comesa Summit which is scheduled to start today. Vice President Joice Mujuru is the Acting President.

The President was welcomed at Entebbe International Airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube and Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operatives Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni who were already here for other meetings that feed into the main summit.

Zimbabwean ambassador to Kenya and Uganda Kelebert Nkomani and Ugandan senior officials were also at the airport to welcome President Mugabe.

The Comesa summit, whose theme is: "Enhancing Intra-Comesa Trade Through Small to Medium Scale Enterprise Development" is expected to attract 19 Heads of State and Government from east and southern Africa.

Uganda takes over the chairmanship of Comesa from Malawi.

Comesa is a regional economic community with an estimated population of about 600 million and a combined GDP of close to US$1 trillion.

It is Africa's largest regional trade bloc. Zimbabwe and Malawi recently launched the Comesa simplified trade regime as a means of facilitating and formalising small scale trade between the two countries.

Under the agreement, qualifying goods worth US$1 000 or below will be allowed to pass border points duty free and traders will not be asked to provide certificates of origin for the goods as long as they are agreed on.

Zimbabwe has a similar arrangement with Zambia.

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