COMESA and the Islamic Republic of Iran explore partnership by sfx15166

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Issue #237 - - 12 February 2010
   Issue #126 Friday 19 October 2007                                                                                               newsletter
COMESA and the Islamic Republic
of Iran explore partnership
O
          n 6 -10 February,, 2010, a
          COMESA delegation led by
          the Secretary General, Mr
Sindiso Ngwenya and including the
President of the PTA Bank Dr Michael
Gondwe, the Chief Executive Officer
of the Alliance for Commodity Trade
in Eastern and Southern Africa
(ACTESA) Dr Cris Muyunda and senior
officials from the COMESA Secretariat,
the PTA Bank and ACTESA visited
the Islamic Republic of Iran. During
the Mission, the COMESA delegation
met with His Excellency Manouchekr
Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Medhi Gazanfari,
the Minister of Commerce and His                                       Iran Minister of Foreign Affairs (Centre), with COMESA SG (left) and PTA Bank President
Excellency Babak Afghahi Deputy
Minister of Trade.                                         important for the Iran-COMESA                                          Dr Gondwe, the financial arm of
                                                           cooperation but also for Africa as                                     COMESA.
The Mission further met several                            a whole. “COMESA is a gateway
other cabinet Ministers and deputy                         to other parts of Africa and can                                       Referring to the meeting he had
Ministers in different key ministries                      play a big role in the Iran-COMESA                                     held with the Minister of Commerce
including health and power. In                             cooperation as well as Africa wide                                     the previous day, Mr Ngwenya
addition, the delegation met                               cooperation” said Mr Mottaki.                                          called upon the identification of
executives from the Central Bank                                                                                                  cooperation “quick wins”, that could
and private banks, leaders of the                          Minister Mottaki described the                                         be attained in the shortest possible
Iranian private sector companies                           creation of COMESA by Member                                           time, so as to give momentum and
in agribusiness, manufacturing,                            States as “great news for Africa”                                      confidence to the cooperation,
infrastructure, energy and mining                          taking into account that COMESA’s                                      adding that he values the South-
sectors. Additionally, the COMESA                          promotes balanced and harmonious                                       to-South cooperation. Some of
delegation undertook a visit to                            economic development.                                                  the quick wins identified included,
the Kish Free Trade Zone and to                            Secretary General Ngwenya,                                             the supply of petroleum products,
manufacturing sites for fertilizers,                       informed the minister that the                                         fertilisers, bitumen and tractors. A
motor vehicle manufacture,                                 COMESA Council of Ministers                                            visit to tractor manufacturers, by the
pharmaceuticals, cement and agro                           had mandated him to explore                                            mission had revealed that for as little
production equipment.                                      cooperation at regional and                                            as US$ 12,000, one can import a high
Concluding the Mission, at a meeting                       international level, thus the kind                                     powered tractor manufactured in Iran
that took place in his Ministry on                         of mission he was undertaking in                                       that could under normal conditions
Wednesday 10 February 2010 the                             Iran. He added that in order to                                        go for as high as US$ 50,000 if
Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs                        establish financial infrastructure                                     imported from the western markets.
Manouchekr Mottaki, described the                          needed for cooperation, the mission
COMESA mission as not only being                           included the President of PTA Bank,                                                                      to page 3
                          This bulletin is published by the COMESA Secretariat Public Relations Unit but does not necessarily represent views of the Secretariat.
                                                                 Contact Address : COMESA SECRETARIAT, COMESA Center , Ben Bella Road                      www.comesa.int
                                                                              P.O. Box 30015, 260 1 229 725, 260 1 225 107
                                                                                www.comesa.int, e.COMESA@comesa.int
    Major areas of cooperation to be
2
    pursued between COMESA and Iran

    F
            ollowing tour of duty by
            the COMESA Delegation
            to the Islamic Republic
    of Iran, an Aide Memoire was
    signed between the COMESA
    Secretary General Mr Sindiso
    Ngwenya and Honourable
    Bakat Afghahi, Vice Minister
    of Commerce and President
    of Iranian Trade Promotion
    Organization.

                                          The Signing aide memoire between General Mr Sindiso Ngwenya and Hon Bakat Afghahi, Vice Minister of
    The signing took place in Tehran                        Commerce, and President of Iranian Trade Promotion Organisation

    on 9th February 2010 (on 22                   processing, infrastructure                           dams to store water
    Bahman 1388 on the Persian                    development, water                                   for consumption
    calendar). The Aide Memoire                   resource management                                  and irrigation and
    outlined many agreements                      and energy.                                          establishment of
    reached by the two sides during      Specifically for this purpose, it is                          factories to produce
    the Mission: Below are some                   necessary to put in place                            appropriate agriculture
    highlights:                                   a formal relationship and                            equipment.
                                                  cooperation between
    The major areas of cooperation                Iranian Banks and the                      3.        Infrastructural
    to be pursued between                         PTA Bank to facilitate the                           development: To
    COMESA and Iran include:                      required financial and                               consider support for the
                                                  commercial transactions.                             Shire Zambezi waterway
    1.      Trade and investment:                                                                      project, various road and
            In this important area,      2.       Agricultural                                         railway projects and port
            Iran agreed to examine                Development to ensure                                rehabilitation/expansion
            financing facilities to               food security and poverty                            works.
            COMESA Countries                      reduction: Iranian
            through the PTA Bank                  companies, through the                     4.        Pharmaceuticals,
            in order to promote                   facilitation of the Trade                            fertilizers and
            bilateral trade relations.            Promotion Organization                               petrochemicals: Supply
            Priority areas that                   of Iran, indicated                                   of pharmaceuticals,
            could be considered                   their willingness                                    fertilizers and
            include health                        to be involved in                                    petrochemicals to
            centers, schools, agro-               the construction of                                  COMESA Member States

     www.comesa.int
     at competitive prices.              health management,         COMESA and the
                                         agricultural/natural       Islamic Republic of Iran
5.   Joint Ventures: Joint               resource research and      explore partnership                        3
     Ventures between                    other relevant areas.      from page 1
                                                                    Mr Ngwenya further added that
     COMESA private                                                 following his visit to the Ministry of
     sector and the Iranian       7.     Business Linkages:         Health he was impressed that 80 per
     private sector in                   Promotion of business      cent of raw materials used by the
                                                                    Iranian pharmaceutical industries
     various economic sub                linkages between the       were locally produced, an important
     sectors. Specific areas             COMESA Business            area that is ripe for COMESA-Iran
     in this regard included             Council and private        cooperation. COMESA Countries have
                                                                    an annual import bill of about US$ 5
     establishing/and                    sector associations in     billion in pharmaceutical imports.
     upgrading of existing               Iran.
                                                                    Mr Ngwenya further added that
     petroleum refineries,
                                                                    as part of the South-to-South
     agro processing,             8.     Banking Sector             Cooperation, COMESA would like
     water and waste                     Cooperation:               to receive support in the field of
                                                                    infrastructure development. Noting
     water management,                    In order to facilitate,
                                                                    that a region that does not have a
     motor vehicles/                     trade and investment       well developed infrastructure cannot
     tractor assembly, farm              partnerships, the          hope to achieve full trade integration,
                                                                    nor food security. He proposed the
     machinery production,               two sides agreed to
                                                                    Shire-Zambezi waterway as one
     pharmaceutical                      strengthen links between   of the first projects that could be
     production, veterinary              the COMESA and Iranian     undertaken. “We have had excellent
                                                                    consultations with different ministries
     drugs production,                   financial institutions.    and technical groups during our
     livestock/livestock                                            visit, I am convinced that we can
     products, road and           9:     Anticipated next steps     have appropriate projects including
                                                                    training of our Engineers, Pharmacists
     railway development,                in the COMESA – Iran       and agriculture technicians” noted Mr
     dam construction,                   Cooperation:               Ngwenya.
     mineral exploration          The two sides agreed to
                                                                    Speaking at the same function,
     and production, energy       identify projects to be           the PTA Bank President Dr Michael
     projects, cement             undertaken within the next        Gondwe said that the interaction
                                                                    with different stakeholders had been
     manufacturing and            six months and thereafter, on
                                                                    exciting. “We are very excited to have
     housing development.         the basis of tangible projects,   come here and we are discussing
                                  consider drafting an MoU to       with the Export Promotion Bank of
                                                                    Iran, and private banks to identify
6.   Training and Capacity        set the medium to long-term
                                                                    a way to jointly promote trade and
     building:                    goals of cooperation between      investment. I know there are huddles,
     Training and Capacity        COMESA and Iran.                  but we shall overcome them. We
                                                                    need to come up with a way to
     building cooperation                                           confirm letters of credit without
     in the fields of road        A detailed Aide Memoire was       having to go through Western
     maintenance, power           circulated to the COMESA          capitals, to facilitate export and trade
                                                                    between Iran and our region. “It is
     and electrical, irrigation   ambassadors in Tehran with the    said that a journey of a thousand
     and water management,        view to facilitate a follow up.   miles starts with one step’. “The step
                                                                    that our Secretary General has taken
     vaccine and animal
                                                                    will open many opportunities” said Dr
                                                                                             www.comesa.int
    COMESA signs Agreement with West African States to
4   enhance private Sector development

    T
          he Common Market for              and best practices among Member         positions on matters of
          Eastern and Southern Africa       States. It is expected that the         international trade and investment
          (COMESA) has signed a             COMESA Business Council (CBC)           negotiations. The MoU also
    Memorandum of Understanding             and the ECOWAS Business Council         provides Member States in the
    (MoU) with the Economic                 (EBC), will lead and facilitate this    two RECs, with the occasion to
    Community of West African States        process.                                develop and implement common
    (ECOWAS) to enhance private                                                     intra-regional strategies and
    sector development in the two           The MoU will provide an                 programmes.
    regions and to advance regional         opportunity for Member States
    economic integration towards            to cooperate in various areas           Key areas of cooperation contained
    attaining the African Economic          of mutual interest, including           in the MoU range from private
    Community (AEC).                        matters of inter-regional trade         sector development, including
                                            development and trade promotion,        women in business and small
    The two organizations are both          as a mechanism for enhancing            and medium enterprises (SMEs),
    recognized Regional Economic            economic development and                to enhancing agricultural
    Communities (RECs), working             improving the livelihoods of the        development, food and nutrition
    towards realizing the AEC as            regions’ citizens. It is expected       security, with a particular focus on
    envisaged by the Lagos Plan of          that the visibility and participation   implementing the Comprehensive
    Action, through effective utilization   of women in business will be            Africa Agriculture Development
    of resources for the benefit of         advanced, as this is crucial            Programme (CAADP). Furthermore,
    Member States.                          to creating employment and              there is scope within the MoU
                                            increasing household incomes,           for collaboration on Diaspora
    COMESA Secretary General, Mr            while effectively contributing to       engagement with emphasis on
    Sindiso Ngwenya and ECOWAS              economic growth and poverty             attracting investment and human
    President Dr. Mohamed Bin               reduction.                              resources to the region, as well
    Chambas signed the MoU on 29th                                                  as promotion of Public-Private
    January 2010 in Addis Ababa,            Member States will have the             Partnerships (PPPs) to enable
    Ethiopia.                               opportunity to share lessons and        the implementation of bankable
                                            experiences and to collaborate          projects, particularly those relating
    The MoU is as a result of a mission     in the establishment of common          to infrastructural development.
    to COMESA undertaken, within
    the Framework of the Programme
    for Building African Capacity for
    Trade (PACT II), by the ECOWAS
    Private Sector Directorate
    headed by Mr. Alfred Braimah, in
    November 2009. PACT II is funded
    by the Canadian International
    Development Agency (CIDA)
    and co-implemented by the two
    RECs in their respective regions, in
    partnership with the International
    Trade Centre (ITC). One of the key
    components of this programme
    relates to the promotion of inter-
    REC cooperation, as well as the
    need to link and facilitate dialogue
    between apex private sector bodies
    in the two regions. This will, among
    other benefits, enable networking
    and sharing of business proposals
     www.comesa.int
African Union Summit Highlights
Importance of ICT for Development                                                                                          5



T
      he just ended African Union       and health among others.
      Summit held in Addis Ababa                                                        ensure that their meetings
      Ethiopia reiterated the                                                           are synchronised.
                                        The exhibition was organised by
importance of ICT in developing the     the AUC and the United Nations
continent. Regional Organizations       Economic Commission for Africa at
such as the Common Market                                                       There was also a meeting between
                                        the ECA Conference Centre. Various
for Eastern and Southern Africa                                                 the AUC Commissioner for Economic
                                        exhibitors including member states,
(COMESA) were invited to participate                                            Affairs,   Dr. Maxwell Mkwezelamba
                                        ICT services providers, software
in an exhibition on ICT. Prior to the                                           and RECs at which similar issues were
                                        houses and equipment vendors
Executive Council meeting a high                                                discussed. The meeting was attended
                                        participated.
level ICT discussion was held on 27                                             by the Mr. Erastus Mwencha, AUC
January 2010 which was attended                                                 Deputy Chairman. The AUC and RECs
                                        The COMESA stand exhibited various
by Mr. Sherin Shoukry the Director                                              used the occasion to bid farewell to
                                        materials in our ICT programmes
of IT and Networking and the Senior                                             Dr. Mohammed Chambas (ECOWAS
                                        which included documentation
Transport Economist Mr. Gilbert                                                 President) who will be going to ACP
                                        on ICT Policy and Regulatory
Maeti at the COMESA Secretariat.                                                as Secretary General from April this
                                        matters, various policy guidelines
                                                                                year.
                                        prepared over the last ten years
The ICT Panel Discussion comprising     and information of institutions such
AU Member States, Regional                                                      The AUC was advised by RECs to
                                        as ARICEA. The stand exhibited
groupings, industry representatives,                                            involve them more in the actual
                                        posters on the regional terrestrial
funding agencies and cooperating                                                programming to ensure that there is
                                        and undersea telecommunications
partners shared experiences in                                                  a clear delineation of responsibilities.
                                        fibre optic backbones, the VSAT
this important area. During the                                                 There is also a proposal for AUC to
                                        Closed User Group (CLUG) network;
session, presentations were made                                                send liaison officers to all the RECs to
                                        as well as documents on the various
by various speakers on topical issues                                           improve on coordination.
                                        COMESA programmes on FTA and
on ICT developments in Africa and       Customs Union including Annual
globally. The presenters included                                               Another meeting was held between
                                        Reports, reference books and fliers.
the African Union Commission, the                                               the RECs and the EU Commission on
African Development Bank, the                                                   how to implement the decisions of
                                        Other Consultations
World Bank and the International                                                the EABF held in Nairobi last year in
Telecommunication Union.                                                        preparation for the upcoming EU-
                                        On the margins of the meetings of
                                                                                AFRICA Summit to be held in Tripoli
                                        the AU organs, consultations were
The two Panel discussions were on                                               in November 2010.
                                        held between the RECs and the AU
Connecting Africa- Opportunities,       Commissioner for Infrastructure.
Challenges and Strategies;                                                      The EU Commission was led by the
                                        The Commissioner sought to know
and Using ICT to Change the                                                     Director General Development Mr.
                                        how better the AUC and the RECs
Development Paradigm in Africa.                                                 Stefano Manservisi. The private sector
                                        could collaborate in the sector. The
The recommendations of the Panel                                                led by Dr. Cheik Diarra of Microsoft
                                        RECs indicated that it was more up
Discussions were submitted to the                                               seemed to seek cooperation by way
                                        to the AUC to lead in that process
Executive Council and were finally                                              of a PPP approach in implementing
                                        of coordination. The two agreed as
incorporated in the Assembly                                                    decisions of Nairobi. Microsoft
                                        follows:
Declaration on ICT.                                                             highlighted their activities in Africa
                                                                                and the challenges faced by their
                                        a)      AUC would endeavour
Further to the ICT Panel Discussions,                                           private sector. Microsoft is keen that
                                                to maintain better
the Assembly on its first day held                                              implementation be commenced on
                                                communication with the
a special session on ICT. President                                             such initiatives as the Single Window
                                                RECs;
Paul Kagame of Rwanda delivered                                                 and the IT Centres of Excellence.
a key note presentation followed        b)      AUC would ensure that all its
by Presidents Abdoulaye Wade of                                                 Finally, a Joint Coordination
                                                programming takes account
Senegal and President Jacob Zuma of                                             meeting between AUC/RECS and
                                                of what is being done at REC
South Africa.                                                                   EU Commission was held on 3rd
                                                level where it was recognised
                                                                                February 2010 on the African Peace
                                                most implementation takes
In his keynote presentation President                                           Facility. The meeting was held on 3rd
                                                palce.
Kagame underscored the importance                                               February a day after the Summit and
of ICT in the development of the                                                was co-chaired by Mr. Maservisi and
                                        c)      The RECs and AUC should
continent pointing out its various                                              the AUC Commissioner for Peace and
                                                exchange calendars to
applications in business, education                                             Security.
                                                                                                          www.comesa.int
    IN IMPLEMENTATION OF COMESA PROGRAMMES
    C
6                                                                                  broad areas; reducing barriers to
            OMESA WELCOMES               of the private sector as a basis for
            COMPETE The Common           fostering effective public-private        trade and investment; enhancing

            Market for Eastern and       partnerships.                             the competitiveness of commodity

    Southern Africa (COMESA)                                                       value chains; and promoting trade

    has welcomed the on going            The COMPETE Team including Mr             and investment between the U.S.

    collaboration with the USAID         Bernard Kagira, Senior Regional           and the COMESA region. This

    backed Competitiveness and           Trade Policy Adviser, met the             includes helping the region to put

    Trade Expansion Programme            respective program officers at            in place policies that support more

    (COMPETE). This collaboration is     COMESA to develop project                 open and transparent intra-regional

    mainly about COMPETE supporting      proposals in the priority areas under     trade and also promoting access

    various COMESA programmes            the COMESA Work Plan for 2010.            to finance across various sectors

    intended to foster competitiveness   The activities are being coordinated      through innovative financing

    of the region. This is expected      by Andrew Ngone, Senior Trade             mechanisms.

    to lead to increased trade and       Policy Adviser under the USAID/
    investment. COMESA Assistant         East Africa-funded trade capacity         COMPETE is a successor program

    Secretary General responsible for    support program.                          to two previous programs which

    Programmes, Mr. Stephen Karangizi                                              have now been merged into one.

    made these remarks at the COMESA     The consultative meeting was a            These are the Regional Agricultural

    Secretariat Headquarters in          follow-up to the COMESA-COMPETE           Trade Expansion Support (RATES)

    Lusaka, Zambia from 21st to 26th     Work Planning meeting held at             program and the East and Central

    January 2010, when he met with       Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, in       African Global Competitiveness

    senior technical staff of COMPETE    August 2009. The COMPETE Team             Hub (ECA Trade Hub).

    led by the Deputy Chief of Party     also met with Dr. Cris Muyunda,
    (Technical) Mr. Shem Simuyemba.      Chief Executive Officer of the            Through a Partnership Grant Fund,
                                         Alliance for Commodity Trade              COMPETE also supports capacity

    In response, Mr. Simuyemba           in Eastern and Southern Africa,           building for private sector trade

    said COMESA was COMPETE’s            a multi-donor funded COMESA               and industry associations across

    major implementing partner           initiative to foster agricultural trade   the region so as to enhance their

    and COMPETE looked forward to        and food security in the COMESA           capacity to create competitive

    working with COMESA to accelerate    region.                                   and viable industry clusters,

    the implementation of priority                                                 exchange technology and skills,

    COMESA programmes such as,           COMPETE is an $84 million program         establish market information

    the actualization of the Customs     over a five year period (2009-            systems, promote self-regulation

    Union, enhanced food security        2013) funded by the United States         and build capacity of the private

    through more open cross-border       Government through the East               sector to make them more

    agricultural trade, improved         Africa Regional Office of the United      visible and pro-active in shaping

    transport and logistics efficiency   States Agency for International           regional and national policies that

    on major COMESA trade and            Development (USAID/EA).                   impact on businesses. COMPETE

    transport corridors, development     COMPETE supports countries in             assistance will help the COMESA

    of regionally harmonized product     central, eastern and southern Africa      region become more competitive

    quality standards and sanitary and   to increase trade and investment          internally and externally by

    phytosanitary (SPS) measures as      and foster sustainable food security      supporting the implementation of

    well as enhancing the capacity       through interventions in three            decisions of the Policy Organs of
                                                                                   COMESA.
     www.comesa.int
Agriculture Field Officers from Tanzania
trained in Conservation Farming                                                                                                7




T
       wenty-seven agriculture
       extension officers from the
       United Republic of Tanzania
spent one week in rural Zambia
learning and sharing experiences
about Conservation farming. The
team was brought to Zambia through
the Climate Change programme for
the Eastern and Southern African
region. The co-ordinating unit of this
tripartite programme is based at the
COMESA Secretariat.

Project manager for Conservation
Agriculture from Morogoro in the
Eastern part of Tanzania Mr Shariff
Maalim, who was also the team leader
of the group said the experience in        Unit of the Zambia National Farmers     are highly susceptible to the threat
Zambia had been enriching.                 Union. The Conservation Farming         of climate change and total crop
                                           Unit of the Zambia National Farmers     failure even in seasons of moderately
“We are a mixture of government            Union was established in 1995 to        poor rainfall. They are also excessively
workers and some from the NGO              develop and promote the adoption        dependent on increasingly expensive
world so the sharing was rich.             of Conservation Farming (CF) and        fertilisers which are now unaffordable
Zambia is more advanced than us in         Conservation Agriculture (CA)           for the majority.
conservation farming. We camped in         practices by Zambia’s small-scale       The benefits of CF and CA are
Mumbwa, a town west of the capital         farming community. In 1999 the                    proven and offer farmers the
Lusaka where farmers have managed          Government of Zambia endorsed the                 opportunity to:
to pull huge numbers and engage            promotion of CF as national extension   •	        Dramatically	increase	
them in conservation farming. This is      policy. The need to promote more                  their yields, diversify their
definitely a plus for the region. We can   productive and sustainable farming                production base and engage
learn a lot from here,” Mr Maalim told     systems arose from a consensus in                 in economic activity;
e-comesa.                                  Zambia and the region as a whole        •	        Regenerate	their	soils	and	
                                           that small-scale agriculture was                  sustain adequate levels of
COMESA Climate Change Officer Mr           in crisis. Conventional small-scale               production in all but the
Chikakula Miti who addressed the           farming practices are unsustainable               worst droughts;
extension officers at their farewell       and have contributed to:                •	        Liberate	themselves	from	
debriefing said the challenge in                                                             dependency on food aid
Africa was not to train thousands          •	      Declining	yields	and	                     and excessive use of costly
of extension officers but how to                   productivity;                             external inputs;
place people in communities where          •	      Chronic	and	transitory	food	    •	        Practice	sedentary	agriculture	
they can become innovators in                      insecurity and inadequate                 on a sustainable basis; and
conservation farming.                              nutrition;                      •	        Regenerate	rather	than	
“We need to partner with Non               •	      Excessive	dependency	on	                  exploit the environments in
Governmental Organisations who                     food aid;                                 which they live.
are working on the ground with             •	      Land	degradation;	and           Today in Zambia over 120,000
farmers. We urgently need to focus         •	      Migration	of	farming	           farmers have already benefited from
on delivering real outcomes-let’s                  communities, encroachment       the adoption of CF. By 2011 it is
have practical engagements with                    of virgin woodland and          expected that adoption of CF will
stakeholders,” Mr Miti said.                       deforestation                   increase to 250,000 families or about
While in Zambia, the Tanzanian team        Farmers who practice conventional       30% of Zambia’s small-scale farming
worked closely with the Conservation       farming methods on degraded soils       community.
                                                                                                             www.comesa.int

								
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