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By Godfrey Olukya 24-11-2012

The 16th COMESA summit has closed with members agreeing to collectively play a role in ensuring security in the region and Africa as a whole.

President Yoweri Museveni has closed the Summit with a call to the regional organs to coordinate in improving the sectors of roads, security, railway lines, and electricity and Information Communication Technology linkages between member countries to enable the region move to greater heights.

The President also urged the private sector to utilize the Free Trade Area for enhancing intra COMESA trade.

The 2-day summit that was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo ended today. It was attended by leaders from COMESA member countries as well as African Union (AU) senior officials.

President Museveni, who took over the mantle as the Chairman of COMESA
from the President of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda, commended the progress made in the implementation of COMESA programmes and the tripartite
arrangement.

The President hailed the outgoing Chairperson of COMESA, Mrs. Joyce Banda, for shepherding the organization and thanked all COMESA leaders and delegates for coming to Uganda to attend the summit.

Earlier, Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget of Kenya was sworn-in as the new Assistant Secretary General of COMESA. He takes over from Mr. Steven Karingozi who moved to the African Development Bank on another appointment.

The new stewardship of COMESA was also announced. Uganda is the Chair while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the Vice Chairman with
Malawi coming in as the Rapporteur.

In a communiqué that the COMESA authority adopted which was read by
the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, who is also the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Amelia Kyambadde, the Summit endorsed, among other numerous issues, the decisions to fast track the implementation of the hardware infrastructure projects in railways, energy, roads and ICT.

The summit also stressed the importance of enhancing the participation of the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in intra-COMESA trade with a focus on the youth and women. The authority further urged the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank and financial institutions in the COMESA region, to provide affordable and accessible financing to women in business, taking into consideration the significant role they play in agriculture and the economies of the COMESA member States.

On democracy and governance, the Kampala COMESA Summit reiterated its
importance as a basis for sustainable peace, security, stability and development and urged member states to continue to strengthen democratic processes at the national level.

The summit further congratulated President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) upon his re-election, congratulated President Mohammed Morsi on assuming the high office in Egypt following the successful elections in that country and also congratulated the new Prime Minister of Libya, Rt. Hon. Ali Zeidan, upon his election to the high office.

The COMESA Authority further congratulated President Joyce Banda upon
her assumption of the high office and commended the people of Malawi upon the successful and peaceful transition of power following the sudden demise of the late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. The new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Rt. Hon. Hailemariam Desalegn, was also congratulated upon his assumption to the high office. The people of Ethiopia were equally commended for the smooth transition of power after the death of the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.

On security, peace and stability, the Summit urged all member countries to work together to ensure that tranquility prevails in the region.

Finally, the Summit finally congratulated President Yoweri Museveni, the government and the people of Uganda, for successfully hosting the conference and for the warm hospitality accorded to the COMESA leaders and delegations.

END

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