19 May

Transport, Energy, and ICT are the Key Economic Drivers in COMESA

The development of transport, energy and information, communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in the COMESA region hold the key to unlocking the economic potential of the region. In a media briefing on the forthcoming 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit,

COMESA Director of Infrastructure and Logistics Mr Jean Baptiste Mutabazi says, even though such infrastructure belongs to specific Members States, COMESA plays a facilitative role to ensure regional harmonization of policies and standards.

He was addressing a media briefing in Lusaka as a build up to the 22nd COMESA Summit on 08 June 2023 which will be hosted by the government of Zambia in Lusaka.

Mutabazi cited the development of Model Standards for Solar power which has been undertaken by COMESA in response to the proliferation of low-quality products in the region. This is part of a package of regional policy frameworks that will assist Member States to improve the quality of solar products that are allowed into the region and achieve the ease the doing of business across borders due to predictable duty regimes.

“The model standards will be used as a tool for the promotion of quality and regional trade among the Member States to ensure interoperability of manufactured products,” he said.

This will address the proliferation of low-quality solar energy products which have eroded the confidence in the reliability of solar energy as a viable solution to electrification challenges in the COMESA region. The Model Solar Standards will be presented for adoption in the next meeting of ministers of infrastructure for adoption.

Other highlights presented at the briefing related to implementing of a programme on Harmonization of Regulatory Frameworks and Tools for Improved Electricity Regulation in COMESA. This US$ 1.5 million project is funded by the African Development Bank and is intended to facilitate electricity exchanges among COMESA member countries.

On ICT sector, an eight million euros project EU funded programme on enhancement of governance and enabling environment in the ICT sector in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region (EA-SA-IO) in under implementation.

A similarly EU funded project is also under implementation to support the air transport sector development as a step towards achieving a single African air transport market.

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