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KENYA
Kenya prepares to host 12th COMESA summit 17-18 May

Published: 12-JAN-07

NAIROBI ´┐Ż Preparations are underway for the 12th summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, 17´┐Ż18 May.

The regional economic grouping said in a statement that prior to the Summit, other policy organs would meet from 8-12 May, with technicians and experts in different fields thrashing out issues to be presented to the Council of Ministers' meeting 14-15 May.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting is scheduled for 16 May, while the Council of Ministers will submit its reports to the Heads of State and Governments for final deliberations and decisions.

The 4th COMESA First Ladies Round Table will be held on the sideline of the Summit, while the 4th Business Forum will take place just ahead of the Summit.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, as the host of the 12th Summit is expected to be elected Chairman of the COMESA Authority, to succeed Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti.

Top on the agenda will be progress towards the COMESA Customs Union, expected to be launched in December 2008 and the Free Trade Area (FTA).

While, 13 member countries have acceded to the FTA, six other COMESA Member States are yet to meet the criteria.

In the final Communiqu´┐Ż of their 11th Summit last November in Djibouti, the leaders directed that all outstanding work on the COMESA Common External Tariff (CET) be completed ahead of the 2007 Summit.

The Nairobi Summit will also review progress on the workability of the COMESA Fund, developments on the establishment of the COMESA Monetary Institute, and the Regional Payment System.

Infrastructure linkages within the region will also be high on the agenda.

The leaders are equally expected to discuss the political situation of the region, national as well as regional Agriculture and Food Security, with particular emphasis on policy harmonisation within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programmes (CAADP), to ensure food sufficiency for the welfare of citizens, the statement said.

The Summit will also review progress of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union, America's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations and other multilateral issues.- Panapress



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