By Mercy Imali
President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states to focus on growing their economies rapidly through trade and improve the lives of their people. Uhuru spoke at the opening ceremony of Source 21 COMESA business summit at KICC. Uhuru encouraged member states to explore different products for trade.
“China has an internal market of 1.3 billion people, yet they are fighting for other markets. They are fighting with the US to get more market, yet we continue to be satisfied with a small market,” said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The summit’s aptly themed “The Hallmark of Quality”. It brings together Heads of state, policymakers and the private sector from the 21 COMESA member states, to deliberate on how to promote and advance cross border trade amongst the representative states.
Business leaders will have interactive sessions with Heads of states in which they will discuss key strategies to enhance industry competitiveness and formulate strategies to enhance local sourcing and intra-regional trade.
COMESA Source 21 will further feature sectoral round tables where sector-specific issues like value for money in manufacturing, internationalizing African brands, optimizing sustainable partnerships in regional agribusiness, tackling illicit trade and strengthening industry sustainability, will be explored at length.
Chief Executive Officer of COMESA Business Council, Sandra Uwera said, “The topics to be addressed by the forum will center on manufacturing competitiveness, and trade facilitation, digital financials services, and regional payment systems, standards and quality issues, smart and sustainable cities and the continental free trade area. The platform will also be a forum to address some of the key impediments affecting businesses in cross-border trade, and will promote industrial growth and competitiveness too .”