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20-21 November, 2012 (Forum); 16-24 November, 2012 (Exhibition) Munyonyo Speke Resort and Hotel Kampala, Uganda

Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterpise Development

Seizing Opportunities for Innovation and Prosperity in Business

The 8th COMESA Business Forum is an Annual Public Private Dialogue and Business Partnerships Forum, that brings together over 500 of Africa’s top business leaders, international businesses and regional policy makers on one platform to engage on common agendas that support business interests in the COMESA region.

The Forum is held alongside the 16th COMESA Summit and provides a key platform for private sector to meet and interact with key policy makers from COMESA countries, during the Forum and Summit.

This year, the Regional Forum is co-hosted by the Private Sector Federation of Uganda-PSFU and COMESA Business Council-CBC in Kampala, Uganda.

Africa’s SMEs sector has become pivotal in the continent’s drive for sustainable and long-term development and growth. SMEs are known to comprise over 90 percent of African business operations and contribute to over 50 percent of employment in the region. It cannot be over emphasized that the promotion of SMEs has been a powerful engine of wealth creation in many African economies for individuals seeking business opportunities and a chance to pursue entrepreneurial aspirations.

In the COMESA region, SMEs dominate the business world- cutting across all priority sectors in Agriculture, ICT, Transport, Energy, Tourism, among others. The role of women in business comes out more prominently now- as the region seeks to address all capacity constraints across the value chain- in order to increase intra- trade and market competitiveness in Africa and Internationally. How has the private sector been effectively involved in the vision of boosting intra-Africa trade? 

The 8th COMESA Business Forum and International Exhibition, 2012 will look at the various advancements made by Small and Medium Enterprises on boosting trade and investment within sectoral clusters, and industries in the region. .This focus is based on the overall African agenda of promoting businesses to become more competitive in the regional and international markets, and to meet the needs of today’s consumer. 

In the ever competitive industry that Africa is becoming, product and industrial innovation is a priority for an SME to have a competitive advantage in a local, regional and international market. The importance of Research and development for innovation has been discussed over the years- and today \ innovative solutions to Agriculture, manufacturing, services sectors, ICT and infrastructure are coming into play. While these gradual development have significant effects on the performance of today’s business and enterpreneur, - the forum seeks to take a different approach to securing a more vibrant SME sector. How do we reinvent the growth of SMEs in COMESA?

Comesa countries considering single travel visa

Aug 22, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 22 – Stakeholders in the Tourism Industry from Comesa countries are gathered in Nairobi in the first forum ever to look into the best development approach of the tourism sector in the region.

One of the main agenda will be to discuss – how to push their various governments to have a single travel visa within the region.

Speaking while opening the forum, Tourism Minister Danson Mwazo – said despite the region having most of the best tourist destinations, citizens from the region still have difficulties in visiting these countries and prefer going to other countries outside the region.

“One of the things we are going to agree among the stakeholders in the Comesa region is to have borderless movement, so that both domestic and even international tourists can move freely from one country to the other,” -said Mwazo.

He added that the stakeholders are also planning to come with strategies of marketing Comesa countries as a region and improve its image which he said has been spoilt over time by the media.

“We have realised that it is a high time we package and present ourselves in a positive way, than what the western media portray Africa. We have always been seen as a war people, struggling with hunger and many other negative issues, yet we have so much to offer in terms of tourism attraction,” -the minister said.

There are also plans to pass a resolution on funds allocations whereby they will push their governments to set 5 percent of the budgets to the tourism sector.

He laments that up to now, several countries are still getting zero funding from the government to develop the sector.

“We are planning to make this recommendation to the policy makers or legislatures, because tourism in purely marketing,” he said.

The public-private dialogue, which is being held under the theme “Shaping the Future of Tourism in Comesa”, brings together over 70 regional participants from tourism boards, investment promotion agencies, tourism businesses and development partners.

The meeting is being hosted by the Comesa -Secretariat in cooperation with Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism. It has been organized through the support of the Comesa Business Council in partnership with the Kenya Investment Authority and the Kenya Tourism Board.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Africa receives 4.8 percent of all tourist arrivals in the world.

The 19 member-states region has a population of 430 Million people.

Source: capitalfm.co.ke