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COMESA moots Zambia, Zimbabwe agro-park

COMESA moots Zambia, Zimbabwe agro-park
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
A FEASIBILITY study on establishing a common agro-industrial park between Zambia and Zimbabwe under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is underway.
The agro-industrial park will to enhance agro-industrial productivity and competitiveness through promoting linkages among agro-industries and other economic sectors including Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
According to the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), this would provide opportunities for industrial synergies and investment linkages for targeted agricultural value chains integration and development.
This came to light when ECA, Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) staff met with their COMESA counterparts as part of initiatives towards strengthening collaboration between the two institutions.
“This would include an assessment of potential challenges and opportunities for industrial synergies and investment linkages for targeted agricultural value chains integration and development,” ECA said in a newsletter.
The ECA SRO-SA Officer-in-Charge, Sizo Mhlanga, emphasised the need for the two organisations to collaborate closely in support of regional integration initiatives in Southern Africa.
He narrated the various areas of technical support to COMESA from ECA, noting that current efforts towards the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area required collaboration with member States and COMESA.
Mr Sizo Mhlanga reassured the COMESA team of ECA’s support in various activities leading to socio-economic development of our member States.
COMESA was represented by, Joe Okwir, the Agricultural Economist, Industry and Agriculture and Joseph Mpunga, who is Senior Investment Promotion Officer, Private Sector Development.
The meeting discussed other areas of collaboration including: undertaking studies for establishment of a regional platform for buyer-seller linkages for MSMEs including women and youth owned SMEs dealing in regional value chains.
It also discussed the need to support the domestication and implementation of the COMESA Common Investment Area in member States as a regional framework for harmonising the ease-of-doing business environment.
It also agreed to support the development of a regional policy framework to guide mineral exploitation in the region.
The meeting agreed that detailed project documents would be drafted once the projects were prioritised.

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