Malawi will on October 11th – 12th host the 7th COMESA Business Forum, being one of the Policy Organs meetings preceding the 15th COMESA Summit of Heads of State on October 14th - 15th 2011.
The 6th COMESA Business Forum took place in Swaziland last year. Running under the COMESA annual theme, Harnessing Science and Technology for Development, the Business Forum will be a high level platform for experts to openly discuss and engage in public debates with the Private Sector and government officials on how best to do business.
The recommendations provided will be presented to the COMESA Heads of State Summit as Regional Declaration of the Private Sector.
It is this declaration that will form the workplan of the Regional Private Sector Apex Body of COMESA i.e. COMESA Business Council.
The Business Forum, co-hosted by the Malawi Confederation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) and the COMESA Business Council, will single out the fruits of trading opportunities in the region with a specific focus on both intra and extra-trade in COMESA and beyond.
Key economic and political agenda issues to be discussed will include: global food prices, the effects of the tobacco industry on the value chain, food security and agro-industrialization, tourism and Branding Africa as the prime trade and investment location and the effects of the international financial arena on Africa’s businesses.
“It will explore how to exploit business opportunities available within the region, influence the environment for doing business within and provide one-to-one meetings between business people from the region and beyond,” said MCCCI Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira.
He disclosed that about 500 delegates from across the COMESA Region, including potential investors and trading partners from China, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, India and Europe are likely to attend. “In fact, the forum will come up with a communiqué which will be presented to the Council of Trade Ministers for observations before they take it to the summit for action, “ he added.
He added that during the forum, MCCCI will present the negative connotations of failure by countries in the region to deal with issues that affect regional integration in COMESA Member States. “Non-tariff barriers, for example, have to go.
There are issues of transport fees, restrictions on products to export to other countries, trucks being kept for long periods of time at some borders, these have to be dealt with by COMESA Member States,” said Kaferapanjira.
As part of the business forum and summit, MCCCI and CBC will hold a mini trade exhibition expected to attract about 100 international and local exhibitors.