COMESA’s global trade rises by 15 per cent
02-11-2023 11:01:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 2623 | Tags:

COMESA’s trade globally and within the region has recorded a significant increase with the total exports to the world gaining by 15% from US$179bn in 2021 to US$205bn in 2022.

The largest exporting countries in the COMESA region were Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan. These had a combined market of 98% in exported fuels in 2022.

This was revealed during the 39th Meeting of the COMESA Trade and Customs Meeting held in Balaclava, Mauritius.

A report presented by COMESA Secretariat on trade developments in the region indicated that the value of intra-COMESA total exports increased by 10% from US$12.8bn in 2021 to US$14.1bn in 2022.

Exports in sulphur of all kinds, cobalt oxides and hydroxides, palm oil, refined petroleum oil, urea, electric current, cotton, sulphuric acid, main flour, gold and ammonia among others contributed to the increase.

Most of the COMESA Member States recorded growth in their 2022 intra-COMESA total export values except for Congo DR, Ethiopia, Malawi and Seychelles whose exports to the region declined.

The report added that Mauritius had the highest utilization rate of 96% for its COMESA originating imports in 2022 followed by Seychelles, Malawi, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Zambia.

The COMESA Medium Term Strategic Plan 2021-2025 targets an increase of intra-regional exports to at least 25% of total exports by 2026 from the current 10%.

Based on 2019 trade statistics, the region has potential to increase intra-trade by US$100 billion if all extra-COMESA trade could be diverted to the region. This means that if at least 50% of current extra-COMESA trade is diverted to the region, intra-trade could expand by US$50 billion.

“To attain this target, there is a need to change mindsets and practical approaches within the COMESA family,” said COMESA Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes, Dr Mohamed Kadah when he addressed the delegates comprising of trade experts from the member States.

“Your committee is therefore invited to interact on this desired course of action in the interest of laying down a solid foundation for the advancement of COMESA regional trade and economic integration agenda.”

The Trade and Customs Committee is one of the COMESA’s key policy structures through which the bloc has made significant strides in fostering trade and economic integration.

During the three-day meeting, the delegates received updates on various COMESA supported programmes and sectors, which are specifically connected to trade and economic development.