Kinshasa, 27 February 2014 (ECA) - During their Summit in Kinshasa, the Heads of States and Government of COMESA countries and their representative acknowledged the importance of natural resources as an anchor for economic and social transformation of the lives of their people. As a result, the leaders, who met from 26-27 February, underscored the importance of commodity based based industrialization. The leaders decided to develop a common industrialization policy, which will build on the COMESA initiative on minerals value addition and industrial clusters.
The leaders reached these decisions after a very lively roundtable discussion entitled "Turning the Tables - Natural Resources as an Anchor for Transformation" which was moderated by Mr. Carlos Lopes Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). In responding to the moderators questions based on examples drawn from COMESA member countries, the leaders articulated very specific measures and policies that Africa needs to take to benefit from its natural resources. They underscored the following critical actions: the need for attitude change in the civil service and political leadership in order to facilitate developmental initiatives; the imperative of large markets to support increasing trade; harnessing and development of entrepreneurship to innovate products and services; skills development; investment in development enablers including peace and security and infrastructure; capacity building for negotiation and re-negotiation of contracts in order to maximize returns on Africa's minerals; development of alternative sources of energy especially renewable energy; industrialization as the anchor for social economic development; and political determination to translate potential into reality.
The Summit also deliberated on other areas, measures and immediate actions necessary to consolidate intra-COMESA trade, especially through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which from the bulk of the sub-regions private sector. The leaders made decisions aimed at deepening the COMESA free trade area; the customs union; and the tripartite free trade area with SADC and EAC. Towards making the COMESA economy a competitive one, the leaders noted with satisfaction the progress being made in the areas of science, technology and innovation; monetary cooperation; infrastructure and agriculture development; and the role being played by COMESA institutions such as the PTA Bank, ZEP-RE and the Africa Trade Insurance Agency.
The Summit was Chaired by President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and was also attended by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is the outgoing Chairperson of the COMESA. Also in attendance were other Presidents, Heads of Government and their representatives.