COMESA preparatory meetings urge members to liberalize trade
Egypt-Regional, Economics, 5/19/2001
Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Youssef Boutros Ghali highlighted the importance of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit to be opened by President Hosni Mubarak Tuesday in Cairo.
In his address at the inaugural COMESA preparatory meetings, Ghali said that the COMESA, founded in 1994, is one of the major regional markets worldwide.
Pointing out that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the grouping hits nearly $ 83.5 billion, Ghali said the Cairo summit will focus on providing the proper climate for investment expansion and increase of the private sector's participation.
The COMESA ministerial council will be held next Sunday, to be followed by the economic forum of COMESA businessmen, which will dwell on means to attract more investments into the member countries, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, construction, contracting, information, communications and technology transfer.
The COMESA governmental committee agenda involves several important issues that have great impact on success of the COMESA free trade area, he said, noting that removal of non-customs restrictions, the agreement over anti-dumping mechanisms and rules of origin are all instruments that guarantee a smooth trade movement among COMESA countries.
Ghali dwelt on the output of Egypt's economic reform programme, which he described as marvellous, noting the GDP growth rate climbed to 6.1 per cent and 6.5 per cent in the past 1998/99 and 1999/2000 years respectively.
He expressed hope that it would reach 7 per cent by the end of this year, Ghali said that the state budget deficit in Egypt decreased in 1999/2000 and in 1998/1999 years respectively.
The current foreign exchange reserve at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) hits more than $ 14 billion, sufficient to cover the value of imports for nearly one year, said Ghali.
The Egyptian banking sector has witnessed radical reforms, and banks now have the liberty to determine their own interest rates on deposits.
Ethiopia will host the coming seventh summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), according to the COMESA Secretary General.
Infrastructure of COMESA small-and-medium projects consummated
Mubarak inaugurates COMESA summit on 22nd May
Egypt, region's key to commerce, investment, stability
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