20th COMESA Summit: Member States concerned over humanitarian situation in Burundi

The 20th Summit of Heads of State of COMESA took place in Lusaka-Zambia from 18 to 19 July on the theme “towards digital economic integration”.

20th COMESA Summit of Heads of State held in Lusaka-Zambia

20th COMESA Summit of Heads of State held in Lusaka-Zambia

Despite the absence of Burundi in the Summit, participants appreciated the improved security situation in the country. They are, however, very concerned about the humanitarian situation. They appeal to the international community agencies to keep assisting the country.

According to the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan of the UN office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 3, 6 millions of Burundians are in need of humanitarian aid. Among them, 1,7millions are in food insecurity.

Members states have analyzed different issues including the intra-Africa Trade fair, the COMESA free trade area, infrastructure development,
COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite arrangement, private sector development… They have appreciated how COMESA has been a resounding success as an organization. However, they called for the mobilization of their own funds to reduce their dependence on external funding.

During the summit, participants have appointed Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe, a Zambian as the new COMESA Secretary General. She replaces, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya who has been chairing the organization since 2008.

The member states of the COMESA also appointed some other officials who will serve as members of the COMESA Committee of Elders for a four-year term. Among them include Dr. Sabine Nkarutimana, former Burundi Minister of Public health and current advisor to the president on social issues.

Asked about the absence of Burundi as a member state in the summit, Alain Diomède Nzeyimana, deputy spokesperson for Burundi President, has said Burundi cannot be represented in a meeting whose did not follow the rules. “Burundi will never accept the results from the 20th COMESA Summit”, he said.

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