Thursday, June 25, 2009

East Africa: Japan Names Comesa Rep

The Herald [Published by the government of Zimbabwe] - 23 June 2009

JAPAN has appointed its first permanent representative to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa following the successful summit held in Victoria Falls.

The latest development shows that the international community is beginning to have confidence in Comesa operations chaired by President Mugabe, Harare observers said. The government of Japan appointed Mr Hideto Mitamura to be the permanent representative of Comesa.

Mr Mitamura is also the ambassador of Japan to Zambia and would be representing his country at Comesa meetings.

In a statement yesterday, the Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe said the relations between Japan and Comesa, always warm and cordial, should be strengthened, saying the regional bloc played a vital role in regional integration and development.

"Relations between Japan and Comesa have been very warm based on mutual respect, open dialogue and close cooperation for the common good.

With this historical event of the appointment of Mr Mitamura as permanent representative to Comesa, Japan is looking forward to the further strengthening of the relationship," read the statement.

The embassy said it considered Comesa as a major strategic partner in Africa's development and had continued to cooperate with the organisation on a number of projects -- most notably the establishment of the One-Stop Border Post.

"It is hoped that the Chirundu One-Stop-Border Post will commence operations soon and that will serve as a model for the development of other OSBP facilities in Africa."

With regard to the One-Stop-Border Project, so far technical cooperation projects are running in three points -- Chirundu, Namanga and Malaba.

For the Chirundu project, Japan has contributed funds through the Japanese Grant Aid for the construction of the Chirundu Bridge which was officially handed over in 2002.

The embassy says it also is interested in partnering Comesa in the field of infrastructure development with particular focus on regional transport and power infrastructure.

Japan has already made commitments for projects amounting to US$140 million for the many infrastructure development projects which are being facilitated in order to contribute to the attainment of the main goal of Comesa which is to facilitate the region's sustained development through economic integration.

At its fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development held last year, Japan emphasised the importance of deepening effective and well-coordinated development programmes in Africa.