Comoros, Libya join COMESA free trade area

Xinhua 2006-05-16

Comoros, Libya join COMESA Free Trade Area

LUSAKA, May 15 (Xinhua) — Comoros and Libya have joined the Free Trade Area (FTA) of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the continent’s largest economic group, according to a newsletter released by COMESA Secretariat on Mondayin Zambian capital Lusaka.

This was announced by sitting Chairman of COMESA Authority, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, who was officially opening the 21st COMESA Council of Ministers meeting held in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda on Monday.

The joining of the two countries brings the number of the FTA member countries to 13 out of the total 19 member states in COMESA.

President Kagame appealed to the remaining member states to join the FTA for the benefit of their people, according to the newsletter.

He noted that for the past 12 months, overall prospects for the COMESA region and for the continent have been positive in terms of economic, political and social gains.

Economic growth in the COMESA region in 2005 recorded at 5.8 percent, and Kagame said this was, in great measure, due to intra-regional trade and investment.

Meanwhile, COMESA Secretary General Erastus Mwencha said the bloc has recorded significant progress in all fronts regarding regional integration.

"We have a functioning Free Trade Area, we have put in place trade facilitation instruments, we have laid a solid foundation for the Customs Union and we are preparing ground for Common Investment Area," said Mwencha.

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Fuente: Xinhua