Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina handing over COMESA chairmanship to his counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in 21st Summit on November 23, 2021. TV screenshot
CAIRO – 23 November 2021: In the opening of the 21st COMESA Summit hosted by Egypt in the New Administrative Capital, Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina handed over the organization's chairmanship to his counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
President Sisi thanked Madagascar for the work it did while chairing the Common Market for East and South Africa (COMESA), and pledged deploying all efforts necessary to bolster intra-trade between member states.
In his speech, the president noted that although COVID-19 pandemic engendered new challenges, those can be an opportunity to push forward development work. He showcased that the pace of recovery from COVID-19 impact is slow. "That requires us to concert our efforts to overcome that obstacle," President Sisi stressed.
Given that COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain, Egypt has set a vision to achieve integration among member states through a number of short-term and medium-term initiatives. Further, the Egyptian president urged African countries to facilitate the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Equally, President Sisi proposed an initiative to achieve industrial integration among COMESA member states asking them to work together on drafting an executive plan to accomplish it.
President Sisi also pledged cooperation with COMESA countries in the energy sector transferring experience to them. In another context, he underscored the salience of expanding the role of SMEs, youth, and women in economic integration among COMESA countries.
The Egyptian president also noted that COMESA countries have to mull integration in the healthcare sector, such as eliminating restrictions pertinent to circulation of medical products. Another project he drew attention to is Vic-Med saying it has the potential to achieve integration among eastern African countries. The project is about encouraging navigation through the Nile River between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean.