Leaders, ministers of 24 nations to gather in Sharm El-Sheikh for COMESA conference

Presidents and ministers from 24 nations will gather in Sharm El-Sheikh on Thursday for a three-day conference of the COMESA free-trade area, discussing investment and development issues affecting eastern and southern Africa.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) announced its “Africa 2017” conference on Monday, saying the event from 7 to 9 December will see 10 national leaders and 40 ministers in attendance.

The event is being organized in cooperation with Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, and will see the participation of 1,500 high-profile executive managers and investors from 500 different African and international companies, COMESA director Heba Salama told state-run news agency MENA.

According to Salama, the conference will include discussions on integration mechanisms between African economies, and the ways to consolidate investments between them, as well as the role of the private sector in achieving sustainable development.

The event will also promote good investment opportunities in Africa, especially in the COMESA trade area, Salama added.

Egypt is hosting the event as one of 20 COMESA member nations, with others including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya and Sudan.

The free-trade organization aims at achieving “sustainable economic and social progress in all member states through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources,” according to the official website.

The Africa 2017 conference is intended to “bring together decision makers and businessmen from the continent, as well as international funders, providing a big opportunity for a better future for African countries,” Salama said.

She stressed that there is a financial gap of $93 billion in the field of infrastructure in Africa, saying the private sector in Africa can fill the gap and help to provide services. Source: Ahram online

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