Politics

Burundi ready to host 20th summit, COMESA Secretary General says

The secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Sindiso Ngwenya has arrived this 24 January in Bujumbura to evaluate how far Burundi is with the preparation of the summit. “We come to finalize everything related to the hosting of COMESA summit scheduled from 18 to 19 April 2018,” Ngwenya told journalists adding that the summit will be preceded by the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs.

Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA Secretary General: “We come to finalize everything related to the hosting of COMESA summit”

Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA Secretary General: “We come to finalize everything related to the hosting of COMESA summit”

In the 17th COMESA Summit that was held in Kinshasa, DRC in February 2014, member states agreed that it would be the turn for Burundi to host the 20th Summit. ‘Any member of COMESA has a chance to host a summit. Our job is to make arrangement and make sure the summit is successful,” said Ngwenya.

He said he is satisfied that preparations are underway. “We have agreed that Burundi would prepare hotels and all the support required. Everything is ready. That is the reason why I am smiling,” he told journalists.

Mr Ngwenya mentioned that Tunisia will be admitted as the 20th member state of COMESA during the upcoming summit. “We will also authorize Somalia to come back to COMESA since it is one of the founder members of Preferential Trade Area (PTA), and it has been with us,” he says. He expects that COMESA will have 21 member states after the summit.

Zéphyrin Maniratanga, Chairman of the National Committee in charge of organizing official festivities, says Burundi is ready to host the summit. “Preparations are advanced. The two teams of COMESA experts who came to evaluate how far Burundi was with the preparation of the summit have produced a good report,” he said.

However, he admits that there remain final preparations and affirms that this COMESA will be the first important event that Burundi would have hosted. In July

2017, the COMESA Secretary General had refused the holding of the summit in Burundi. In a letter sent to the Burundian government, Sindiso Ngwenya argued that Burundi did not fulfill the required conditions to host the summit. Among the reasons provided was that Burundi did not have an adequate vehicle pool to ensure the transportation of VIPs, including Heads of State.

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