Madagascar's leader and the acting president of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Hery Rajaonarimampianina has welcomed Tunisia to the regional bloc.
The northern African nation was said to have fully met the admission requirements, and thus officially became the the 20th Comesa member state.
President Rajaonarimampianina and the Tunisian Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Khemaies Jhinaoui, signed the admission documents at the 20th Comesa Summit in Lusaka, Zambia on Wednesday.
"I invite Tunisia to positively contribute to the Comesa's development, to the tripartite free exchange zone Comesa-EAC-SADC, and the continental free exchange zone under the auspice of the African Union," stated President Rajaonarimampianina.
The Comesa's new secretary-general, Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, took up her role on Wednesday, following the expiry of the term of Mr Sindiso Ngwenya.
Ms Kapwepwe, a Zambian, is the first woman to hold the Comesa secretary-general's position.
President Rajaonarimampianina also presented awards to several African journalists whose works highlighted the Comesa activities.
Comesa is the largest regional economic organisation in Africa with 21 member states, after the 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
The theme of this year's summit at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre was: Comesa: Towards Digital Economic Integration, and is designed to rally member states towards the full adoption of digital technologies.