COMESA has invited representatives of the private sector associations, immigration experts and diplomatic community from the member countries for a two-day consultative dialogue on new measures to facilitate movement of business persons in the region.
The COMESA Business Council Consultative Dialogue on the Movement of Business Persons will take place in Lusaka, Zambia today and tomorrow. Its main objective is to review and validate the proposed COMESA Business Visa.
Anchored on the theme, "Facilitating the movement of business persons, trade and regional integration" the dialogue will enhance deliberations between the private sector and governments on pertinent migration issues to ensure that the existing policies contribute to increase trade, tourism flows, and business engagement in the region.
Sandra Uwera, the CEO of the COMESA Business Council (CBC) observed that despite business persons being the engine of trade and regional integration, the frameworks for their movement have not been facilitative enough to embrace them.
"The proposed COMESA Business Visa; a novel concept in the region, will be an answer to facilitating and expediting the movement of business persons in the COMESA region as well as increase trade and integration," Uwera said. "The common visa and multiple entry scheme will be a welcome instrument that will spur business and regional integration."
The common visa initiative is a follow-up to the recommendations that were presented to the COMESA council of ministers by the private sector in 2012 on the need to come up with an interim solution to facilitate the movement of business persons.
Since then, the CBC has been working on developing the proposed instruments that can be adopted as a COMESA business visa which will provide for multiple entries for business persons in the region.
Key recommendations arising from the dialogue will be streamlined into an advocacy position for the CBC. The proposed instrument will also be tabled for adoption before the COMESA policy organs and summit meetings that will take place in Madagascar from October 10 to 19, 2016.
If adopted, the COMESA business visa scheme could be operational in the next two years.