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The 7th COMESA Annual Research Forum

Posted on: March 30, 2021


Since 2014 COMESA has been organizing Annual Research Forums. The main purpose of the research forum is to bring together the academia, think tanks, government officers and the private sector to discuss emerging topical issues in regional integration.

The 19-21 October 2020 COMESA organized the Seventh Annual Research Forum, funded by COMESA, OACPS and the European Union through the TradeCom II Capacity Building Programme under the COMESA Grant Action on “Enhancing COMESA Capacity in Trade Policy Analysis, Research and Training for Deeper Regional Integration and Participation in Global Economy.”

The theme was “Harnessing intra-COMESA trade through the interface with African continental free trade area (AfCFTA)”. The theme had five sub-themes namely: COMESA industrialization programmes and the AfCFTA; AfCFTA opportunities and challenges to boosting Intra-COMESA Trade; COMESA Role in Implementation of the AfCFTA; COMESA trade in services liberalization and the AfCFTA; and AfCFTA and COMESA trade regimes. As underlined by H.E. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, COMESA Secretary General, in her opening statement “The theme of this forum could not have come at a better time when there is renewed impetus for shaping the African political, economic and social development. Indeed, the ACFTA is the strategic framework for delivering on Africa's goal for consolidating a single market, fostering structural transformation, and attaining inclusive economic growth and sustainable development”. H.E. Chileshe also pointed out that the COMESA TradeCom II Grant Action is carrying a mixed basket of outputs. First, the outputs from the 7th Annual Research Forum aims at sharing expert ideas on regional economic integration. In this particular case, leveraging on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) to advance regional economic integration and providing readily applicable recommendations for policymakers. In addition, the Project is acting as a training ground for building the capacity of young researchers, trade experts, public servants and analysists who are looking towards horning their skills in the area of research and policy analysis.

Besides, the other important component of the programme is the collaborative Masters Degree Programme on Regional Integration. The latter is a professional course designed for government officials handling trade, aspiring trade policy analysts and a whole range of business and trade related professionals.

COMESA has signed MoUs with the following universities:

i.   Kenyatta University, Kenya; ?

ii.  University of Mauritius; ?

iii. Open University of Mauritius; ?

iv. l’Institut Supérieur de Gestion des Entreprise (ISGE) of Burundi; ?

v.  University of Zambia; and ?

vi. University of Zimbabwe ?

So far, Kenyatta University based in Nairobi, Kenya and the University of Mauritius have already admitted the first batch of students to undertake the two-year virtual course. University of Zambia is at advanced stage on of seeking approvals to commence admitting students to the programme.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM