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COMESA 2007 summit: Final communique
The twelfth summit of the COMESA Authority of Heads of State and Government
"Theme: Deepening Regional Integration for Diversification and Value Addition"

Nairobi Kenya
22 May 2007 - 23 May 2007
COMESA


Opening

In his speech, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya welcomed, on behalf of the Government and the People of Kenya, and indeed on his own behalf, COMESA Heads of State and Government, Heads of Delegations and all distinguished guests to Kenya and to the Twelfth Summit of the COMESA Authority. He informed Their Excellencies that Kenya was honoured to host this important event and he thanked them for their presence.

President Kibaki indicated that the memories, Their Excellencies had from the COMESA Summit in Djibouti in 2006, were still vivid and highly cherished. President Kibaki then expressed, on behalf of Their Excellencies, profound gratitude to President Ismail Omar Guelleh, for his tremendous efforts and contribution made to the furtherance of COMESA regional agenda.

President Kibaki observed that at this Summit, Their Excellencies would take stock of the status of COMESA regional integration agenda, review the implementation of the on-going projects and programmes and also assess the progress achieved in the implementation of the Djibouti Summit Declarations. He then indicated that key among these, was the proposed Common External Tariff structure which was a cardinal requirement for the launch of the COMESA Customs Union.

In the keynote address, the outgoing Chairman of the COMESA Authority of Heads of State and Government, His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti thanked His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, his Government and the people of Kenya for the warm and memorable reception accorded to all delegates since their arrival.

President Guelleh noted that the twelfth COMESA Summit was historic because it was taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, the same venue where in 1999 the Summit of the COMESA Authority of Heads of State and Government launched the countdown to the COMESA Free Trade Area which was celebrated on 31st October, 2000 in Lusaka, Zambia. President Guelleh then noted that they were now meeting in Nairobi, Kenya to launch the countdown to the COMESA Customs Union which would be celebrated on 8th December, 2008.

President Guelleh informed Their Excellencies that Djibouti as Chair of COMESA undertook consultations, immediately after the November, 2006 Summit, with member States that had not yet acceded to the COMESA FTA. The outcome of these consultations was that all COMESA non FTA member States had reaffirmed their commitment to join the FTA at the earliest opportunity.

President Guelleh noted that COMESA had scored success on the common external tariff structure for the Customs Union. On this front, he further noted that the Council of Ministers had been able to come up with a Common External Tariff Structure (CET) which met the requirements of all of COMESA countries. President Guelleh then noted that an important feature of this CET structure was that it provided for national policy space and flexibility on specific and limited product lines for reasons of competitiveness and revenue consideration.

President Guelleh informed Their Excellencies that the inventory of COMESA production structures with a view of facilitating the exploitation by the private sector of the potential synergies and complementaries between and among the COMESA countries were being undertaken. President Guelleh then informed Their Excellencies that parallel with the inventory of production structures, and taking into account that COMESA member States had limited savings for investments, contacts had been initiated with both financial institutions and private investors in the Gulf States, India and China.

President Guelleh observed that there was a need to urgently address the common infrastructural challenges that COMESA faced as nation States and as a region. He further observed that it was common knowledge that COMESA ports, roads, railways, telecommunications and energy facilities had to be redesigned to inter-connect COMESA countries through new investments and the upgrading existing networks. President Guelleh informed Their Excellencies that COMESA Ministers responsible for Infrastructure met jointly and came up with a compendium of infrastructure projects and lead countries for regional projects and the total investments for the infrastructure projects was US$ 28 billion. He also indicated that Djibouti would be willing to host the COMESA Fund.

President Guelleh informed Their Excellencies that the cooperation between COMESA, IGAD, EAC and IOC through the Inter-Regional Co-ordinating Committee was testimony of progress being made towards convergence and the ultimate realization of the African Economic Community under the African Union. He observed that the joint COMESA, EAC and SADC Task Force had also made considerable progress in harmonizing common programmes, thus avoiding duplication of efforts and waste of scarce resources. He then proposed that the Summit needed to reaffirm their commitment to the convergence process of the regional economic communities, at a political level, to ensure that the harmonization of programmes is expedited.

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