Comesa businessmen are converging today Tuesday 20th November 2012 in Kampala to discuss how to promote small and medium enterprises development in the region. The 8th business forum under the theme: ‘Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Seizing opportunities for Innovation and Prosperity in Business’ will take place at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo.

By David Mugabe

The private sector has lauded the Government for ratifying the COMESA free trade area, saying it will open huge markets for the country.

The Private Sector Foundation boss Gideon Badagawa described the decision as a good development for trade and investments.

“Now that the Government has pronounced itself, we will go full scale to sensitise our members,” said Badagawa over the weekend. Cabinet last week approved a recommendation by the minister of trade for Uganda to join the COMESA free trade area (FTA).

By David Mugabe

Uganda is set to enjoy a 50% increase in export revenues after Cabinet yesterday approved a recommendation by the minister of trade for Uganda to join the COMESA free trade area (FTA).

The decision effectively makes Uganda the 15th COMESA FTA member and opens up the opportunity for increased trade competitiveness mainly through increased earnings from exports.

Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde last week said that with the ascension to the 19 member trade bloc FTA, exports are expected to grow by an average of 50% annually.

“In the COMESA region, DRC is Uganda’s second largest market after southern Sudan at over $350m larger than Kenya (about $250m) and they are working on their assention (which means if DRC joins, more trade for Uganda)," said Silver Ojakol, commissioner for external trade in the ministry of trade, industry and cooperatives.

Uganda had delayed to join the FTA because of revenue considerations like taxes levied on imports but experts said the benefits from the accessing a free trade area under COMESA are huge.

Six presidents for Kampala COMESA meetSix presidents have confirmed participation in next week's COMESA heads of state summit to be held on November 23, 2012 in Kampala.

Amelia Kyambadde, minister of trade, industry and cooperatives on Thursday announced that presidents Mwai Kibaki ( Kenya), Salva Kiir (South Sudan,) Paul Kagame (Rwanda,) Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Joyce Banda(Malawi )will attend the presidential summit while Eritrea, Ethiopia, Comoros, Swaziland, Seychelles and Zambia will be represented by their vice presidents.

Hon Amelia Kyambadde at a press briefing Uganda has joined the COMESA Free Trade Area . This is in accordance with the National Trade Policy, the National Development Plan and 2011 NRM Election Manifesto, which prioritized regional integration and enhancing market access for Ugandan goods and services.

 Uganda Export Promotion Board Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Management Training and Advisory Centre Uganda National Bureau of Standards Uganda Industrial Research Institute