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COMESA - ICGLR to collaborate in peace building projects

by Staff Reporter
06 Sep 2015 at 09:25hrs | Views
(L-R) Dr Frank Okuthe, Prof. Prof. Ntumba Luaba, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya and Dr Kipyego Cheluge
Chief Executives of the COMESA and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) have begun talks on establishing a framework for joint peace building projects in the great lakes.

In a meeting held at the COMESA Secretariat, Thursday 20 August 2015, the Executive Secretary of ICGLR Prof. Ntumba Luaba and Secretary General of COMESA Sindiso Ngwenya agreed to enter into an agreement that will enable ICGLR to monitor the COMESA Trading for Peace programme at the border of DR Congo and Rwanda.

In this regard, COMESA will host the first meeting of the Chief Executives of the regional organizations in Lusaka before the end of the year to institutionalize a consultations forum for CEOs. This will provide a common position on future engagement with international partners.

Mr Ngwenya appreciated the work done by the ICGLR in dealing with security issues in the Great Lakes region which he noted were difficult. He also acknowledged the role of the ICGLR in peace building and the invaluable support that the international community continued to provide in this effort.

 Ngwenya cited economic infrastructure as one of the key catalysts that will enhance people to people interaction. He observed that at this point in time, what was needed is to address the social economic issues that would enable the people in the region to deepen integration and thereby eliminate conflict.

"Integration based on economic interests served as a deterrent for conflict," Ngwenya said. "The region should now focus on fast-tracking the economic component as it presents the best win-win scenario."

He said COMESA was running the Trading for Peace programme in the great lakes region and what was needed was for the two organizations to enter into an agreement to monitor the programme jointly.

He recommended the creation of a partnership framework to enable the personnel involved in the COMESA Trading for Peace programme and those of the ICGLR to implement such projects jointly.

Prof. Ntumba Luaba hailed what COMESA was doing in Goma, Kamuvira and other areas describing the works as tangible and cited the COMESA third party insurance scheme also known as the Yellow Card as one of the successful initiatives. He observed that the border projects were important not only in facilitating trade but also providing security.

Further, he appreciated the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite arrangement and its focus on infrastructure development which he said was an imperative for regional trade and integration. He however, decried the power deficit in many countries in the region as a major drawback that needs a common approach to address it.

 Ngwenya thanked the international community for financing the peace building programmes in the great lakes region. In particular, he singled out the World Bank and the United Nations Organization for their support. The World Bank, he said had provided $50 million for projects which he said other organizations should leverage to raise the required One billion dollars.

Present at the meeting were the ICGLR Executive Director Dr. Frank Okuthe and COMESA Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes Dr Kipyego Cheluget.

Source - Comesa