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Burundi ready to host COMESA Summit

By Joyce Namutebi

Added 2nd February 2018 10:40 AM

Iwacu, a local online publication quotes Ngwanya assuring the press that Burundi had qualified to host the mega event.

Burundi ready to host COMESA Summit

President Pierre Nkurunziza

Iwacu, a local online publication quotes Ngwanya assuring the press that Burundi had qualified to host the mega event.

The Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Sindiso Ngwenya has confirmed that Burundi is ready to host the upcoming 20th summit of the organisation.

According to a press release issued by the East African Community headquarters, Arusha said Ngwenya flew into the country last week to monitor how far Burundi is prepared.

Iwacu, a local online publication quotes Ngwanya assuring the press that Burundi had qualified to host the mega event.

"We come to finalise everything related to the hosting of COMESA Summit scheduled from 18th  to 19th April 2018," Ngwenya told journalists adding that the Summit will be preceded by the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

In the 17th COMESA summit that was held in Kinshasa, DRC in February 2014, member states agreed that it would be the turn for Burundi to host the 20th Summit. ‘Any member of COMESA has a chance to host the Summit. "Our job is to make arrangement and make sure the Summit is successful," Ngwenya explained.

He said he is satisfied that preparations are underway. "We have agreed that Burundi would prepare hotels and all the support required. Everything is ready. That is the reason why I am smiling," he said.

He revealed that Tunisia will be admitted as the 20th Member State of COMESA during the upcoming Summit.

On Somalia he said, "We will also authorize Somalia to come back to COMESA since it is one of the founder members of Preferential Trade Area (PTA), and it has been with us."  He expects that COMESA will have 21 Member States after the Summit.

"In July 2017, the COMESA Secretary General had refused the holding of the Summit in Burundi. In a letter sent to the Burundian government, Sindiso Ngwenya argued that Burundi did not fulfill the required conditions to host the Summit, the press release said.

COMESA, according to wikipedea, is a free trade area with  member states stretching from Libya to Swaziland. It was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981.

In 2008, COMESA agreed to an expanded free trade zone including members of two other African trade blocs, the EAC and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

 

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