18 July 2018

East Africa: Comesa Elects First Woman Secretary-General

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) heads of state summit Wednesday elected its first woman secretary-general.

Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, a former alternate director at the IMF, replaces Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, who worked at the regional body for 34 years in various capacities.

The 59-year-old Ms Kapwepwe is a Zambian.

At the time of her appointment, Ms Kapwepwe was serving as chairperson of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and she, at some point, served as deputy Finance minister.

Zambia President Edgar Lungu issued a statement congratulating Ms Kapwepwe.

Leadership responsibility

"Ms Kapwwepwe is taking up leadership responsibility with COMESA at the time when the regional body has made tremendous strides towards market integration and harmonisation of programmes," read President Lungu's statement.

Comesa is the largest regional economic organisation in Africa with member states after the recent admission of Tunisia and Somalia.

It has a population of about 390 million. The bloc has a free trade area and launched a customs union in 2009

Comesa closes its 20th Heads of State summit in Zambia's capital Lusaka on Thursday.

The theme of the summit at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre is: Comesa: Towards Digital Economic Integration, and is designed to rally member states towards the full adoption of digital technologies.

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