The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, or Comesa, agreed to eliminate non-tariff barriers and end conflicts that weaken trade within the 21-member grouping, a statement issued at the close of a two-day summit of member countries said Monday.
Leaders met in Djibouti, Nigeria from November 15-16 for the 11th annual Comesa Summit where members were urged to form a common customs market by the end of next year.
Recommendations were made to create a tax band on imported products into the trade bloc. Comesa will also work towards speeding up a regional payment and compensation scheme before the end 2007.
â€œThe bloc urges member states to speedily draw a road map to eliminate non-tariff barriers. In addition, members should formulate a strategy for regional industrialization...and for the promotion of cooperation between them,â€ said a statement by participants of the summit.
Comesa is the largest African economic bloc, grouping Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has a total population of about 374 million and a total GDP of $203 billion. Kenya will host next yearâ€™s summit.