Comesa Offers Free Space At AGOA Trade Exhibition
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) announced today that it will provide AGOA-eligible member states free exhibit space in the "COMESA Village" of the AGOA Trade Exhibition, scheduled for January 13-17, 2003, in Port Louis, Mauritius.
The unprecedented Exhibition is part of the Private Sector Session of the U.S.-Africa AGOA Forum, an annual ministerial meeting that will attract hundreds of government and business leaders from the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. President George W. Bush is expected to lead the American delegation during his first presidential trip to the African continent.
COMESA Secretary-General Erastus Mwencha hailed the COMESA Village as "a unique opportunity for the region collectively to show the strength of its business community and how it is benefiting from AGOA." Mwencha urged member states to identify high-performing businesses to exhibit their goods and services in the free space, which represents a US$1800 value per country.
Mwencha added that businesses interested in this offer should immediately contact the Ministry of Trade and Commerce or its equivalent in their respective countries, which will coordinate organizing the COMESA Village at the member-state level.
He stressed that relevant businesses should be active in one or more of the following sectors, which will be the focal points of the Private Sector Session: textile and apparel; agribusiness; leather and leather products; arts and crafts; transportation; freight; finance and information technology.
The exhibit booths offered by COMESA each measure nine (9) square meters.
Member states are responsible for choosing which businesses may exhibit in the space. All exhibitors are required to pay the Private Sector Session registration fee and cover all costs related to travel, accommodation, food, shipping of product samples and any other related expenses. Registration forms for the Private Sector Session and other important information can be found under "AGOA" on the COMESA homepage at www.comesa.int <http://www.comesa.int>
AGOA-eligible COMESA members are as follows: Eritrea, Ethiopia; Djibouti; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mauritius; Namibia; Rwanda; Seychelles; Swaziland; Uganda and Zambia. The COMESA Village is supported by the United States Agency for International Development. AGOA - the African Growth and Opportunity Act - provides tariff-free and quota free access to the U.S.
market for nearly 6000 products from 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
COMESA is a regional trade and economic integration grouping of 20 African nations, including Angola; Burundi; Comoros; Democratic Republic of Congo; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mauritius; Namibia; Rwanda; Seychelles; Sudan; Swaziland; Uganda; Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In 2000, COMESA created Africa's largest and most dynamic free trade area (FTA), which encompasses nine member states and nearly 200 million consumers. Intra-FTA trade grew by 30 percent in 2001.