East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 31st February , 2018: The Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), H.E. Sindiso Ngwenya has confirmed Burundi is ready to host the upcoming 20th Summit coming off in the capital, Bujumbura.
He flew into the country last week to monitor how far Burundi is prepared. Iwacu, a local online publication quotes Ngwanya assuring the press that Burundi had qualified to host the mega event.
“We come to finalize everything related to the hosting of COMESA Summit scheduled from 18th to 19th April 2018,” Ngwenya told journalists adding that the Summit will be preceded by the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
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 the 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.
“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,” Iwacu reports.