From NANCY MWAPE in Kinshasa
PRESIDENT Sata yesterday returned home after attending the 17th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) heads of State summit.
The summit, held under the theme ‘Consolidating intra-COMESA trade through micro, small and medium-scale enterprise development’, attracted seven heads of State and government from the regional block.
The President, who was accompanied by First Lady Christine Kaseba and his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah was seen off by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) First Prime Minister Matata Ponyo and Zambia’s Ambassador Fidelis Kapoka.
President Sata, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guellel were among leaders who attended the closing ceremony of the summit.
Meanwhile, COMESA’s new chairperson and DRC President Joseph Kabila said during the closing ceremony that the COMESA regional bloc is one of the best instruments for peace and improving living conditions of the people.
Mr Kabila assured COMESA member states of his commitment to fostering regional competiveness and promoting economic development.
“COMESA has strived to grow and sustain the development of its member states. The development of small and medium-scale entrepreneurs is vital for job creation and reduction of poverty,” Mr Kabila said.
He said member states should build processing industries, add value to raw materials to create jobs and reduce poverty.
He said the summit highlighted the importance that entrepreneurs plays in integration and creation of wealth in the region.
He said the region should continue working on infrastructure development such as roads, marines, railway and information communication technologies to ease the movement of people, goods and services.
And reading a communiqué for the first spouses’ roundtable meeting, DRC’s First Lady Marie Kabila urged African leaders to work towards the attainment of Millennium Development Goals, especially on maternal and child health.
Mrs Kabila also called for the promotion of gender equality as a priority in the development of trade.
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