In his inaugural speech at the 22nd Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit in Lusaka, Kenya’s President William Ruto called for the adoption of a single currency in Africa to facilitate seamless trade across the continent.
President Ruto emphasized that regional integration should alleviate concerns about currency choices when engaging in trade.
He stated, “Our people cannot trade without worrying about which currency to use.
This, among other non-tariff barriers, is something we must urgently address so that our people can begin to trade together and integrate.”
Under the theme “Economic integration for a thriving COMESA anchored on green investment, value addition, and tourism,” the summit witnessed the participation of leaders from various COMESA member states.
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera highlighted the enormous potential for intra-COMESA trade, emphasizing the growing demand for value-added products.
He asserted, “We cannot lag behind any longer in the quest to attain regional integration.”
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the president of Egypt and the chairman of COMESA, emphasized the vast market opportunities within the bloc, boasting a $580 million market and a population of over 720 million people.
El-Sisi urged member states to collaborate in developing infrastructure that would facilitate the movement of goods and people, thereby promoting integration.
The host of the summit, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, emphasized the significance of peace and stability as prerequisites for socio-economic development.
Hichilema remarked, “Instability anywhere is instability everywhere, and I dare say that without peace, security, and stability, there can be no socio-economic development.”
During the summit, President Hichilema officially assumed the chairmanship of COMESA from President El-Sisi.