Africa-Press – Zambia. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause restrained economic, social and cultural consequences across the globe and the COMESA region.
COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said this when she officially opened the organizations’ eighth annual virtual research forum which expects to receive presentations on research papers focusing on regional mitigation strategies against the effects of Covid-19 on intra-COMESA trade and emerging issues.
Speaking during the opening ceremony today, Ms Kapwepwe stated that COMESA’s global trade was affected due to subdued growth in most of its trading partners which led to a reduction in demand for COMESA’s goods and services.
Ms Kapwepwe however, noted that the government with support from development and specialized agencies are making every effort to ensure the availability of vaccines for the people.
‘’This remains the first critical step in protecting our people and creating conditions for opening economies and launching the recovery process,” she said.
And Director at Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Special Programmes, Paul Akiwumi said the COMESA research forum is a timely occasion to reflect on the key processes that can help contribute to the recovery and stimulate long-term growth and prosperity on the continent.
“COVID-19 has reinforced the need for African countries to be self-sufficient and to enhance close regional cooperation and use events such as the COMESA Annual Research Forum for targeted research and policy analysis, and action to strengthen economic integration and trade both within COMESA and within the other Regional Economic Communities (RECs),” he stated.
The theme of this year’s Forum is “Rethinking Trade and Doing Business in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic”. The forum is expected to come up with recommendations that will help the region build resilience around productivity, productive capacities and sustained regional trade even amid the worst of shocks. This is contained in a statement made available to the media by COMESA Head, Corporate Communications Mwangi Gakunga.