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COMESA Central Bank Governors Discuss Monetary Integration

The 24th Meeting of the Bureau of the COMESA Committee of Central Bank Governors and their representatives met in Lusaka on Friday and discussed ways of enhancing implementation of the COMESA Monetary Integration Agenda. They have agreed that the success of several regional programmes including the Free Trade Area (FTA), the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is dependent on a sound monetary system. 

Speaking in her address to the Governors, Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe emphasized that the drive towards industrialization and the plan to establish the Common Market and Economic Community requires greater monetary integration. 

She commended the region for making significant progress in recent years towards improved, macroeconomic frameworks and adopting good international practices and principles. 

This development was described as positive and in line with COMESA’s Medium-Term Strategic Plan which focuses on contributing to the structural transformation of the economies of COMESA member countries to foster overall economic development through trade facilitation and investment promotion. 

The Governors however noted that more needs to be done by the region in order to attain inclusive growth and development. 

Chairperson of the Committee of Central Bank Governors Mr Ahmed Osman highlighted some of the positive developments recorded by the COMESA Monetary Institute (CMI) and the Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS). 

For 2019, CMI undertook several research and capacity building activities to improve macroeconomic management and assessment of financial stability in member states while REPSS has continued to grow with transactions through the live payment system reaching more than US$115 million over a five-year period as at 30 September 2019. The month of October 2019 saw transactions amounting to US$6 million processed by REPSS. 

“This upward trend suggest that the system will indeed, significantly contribute to the expansion of intra-COMESA trade and its full implementation will greatly facilitate achieving real economic integration of our region,” added Mr Osman who is also the Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti. 

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s World Economic Outlook 2019, the real GDP for the COMESA region is projected to grow by 3.5% for the year. This is insufficient to make a dent on unemployment and poverty. 

The Governor’s Committee agreed that the region needs to focus on implementing deep structural reforms to diversify the economies through among others enhancing integration into global value chains by upholding technical and labour standards and reinforcing regional integration. 

The Bank Governors meeting is organised by the COMESA Monetary Institute (CMI).