Description: The history of COMESA began in December 1994 when it was formed to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) which had existed from the earlier days of 1981. COMESA (as defined by its Treaty) was established 'as an organisation of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people' and as such it has a wide-ranging series of objectives which necessarily include in its priorities the promotion of peace and security in the region. However, due to COMESA's economic history and background its main focus is on the formation of a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual states.. COMESA's current strategy can thus be summed up in the phrase 'economic prosperity through regional integration'. With its 19 member states, population of over 470.26 million and annual import bill of around US$170,895 million with an export bill of US$112,546 million COMESA forms a major market place for both internal and external trading. Its area is impressive on the map of the African Continent covering a geographical area of 12 Million (sq km). Its achievements to date have been significant. (See also our comprehensive statistics) Vision COMESA’s Vision is to “be a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high standards of living for all its people ready to merge into an African Economic Community” Mission Its Mission to “Endeavour to achieve sustainable economic and social progress in all Member States through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information, technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources”, the Secretariat was guided to develop its specific Mission Statement as follows: “To provide excellent technical services to COMESA in order to facilitate the region’s sustained development through economic integration”. Core Values COMESA's core values were defined as follows: The Secretariat believes in satisfying its customers It delivers services with professionalism, integrity and innovation. It believes in quality leadership, teamwork and respect for each other in an enabling environment. It cares for the environment and upholds its social responsibility “ The Mission and Values Statements on their own are not sufficient to ensure an efficient and effective service delivery. They have to be linked to the strategy of the Secretariat which is building excellence into every process of the organisation through: Creation of a participatory environment which allows and encourages every staff to contribute to the development of the organisation either individually or in teams; Enhancement staff competencies through continuous improvement; Establishment of economical, efficient and effective systems and procedures; and Effective and efficient communication.
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Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Credit: Dr. Roland Holou / DiasporaEngager


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