Delegation of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA

Statement of EU Ambassador Jacek JANKOWSKI at the 42nd Council of Ministers Meeting Date/time: 09/11/2021 at 9:00, Venue: virtual (link tbc)

09/11/2021 - 13:14
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 Secreatry General of COMESA, Ms Chileshe Munpundu Kapwepwe;

Chairperson of the Council of Ministers;

Honourable Ministers present;

Senior Government officials;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Thank you for giving me once again the opportunity to speak to the distinguished COMESA Council of Ministers meeting. This year’s theme “COMESA Towards Digital Economic Integration” is exciting and well chosen.

The world has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and economies are struggling to recover. However, the crisis also served us as a wakeup call and reminded us of new economic opportunities. In the course of the pandemic, we had to familiarize ourselves with digital means to meet and communicate. We also experienced an incredibly rapid evolution and improvement of digital tools. This years’s Council of Minister’s meeting takes place once again virtually, which demonstrates the growing importane of digital integration.

Secreatry General of COMESA;

Honourable Ministers;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

What does digitalisation mean for our future economies and how does this impact on Trade? Moreover, how does this all relate to COMESA?

For this, let me underline how economy and digitalisation are at the heart of the strategies that European Union and its Member states for themselves but also for their external relations, especially in Africa:

The commitment of the European Union and its member states to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is enshrined in “The European Green Deal”, our new growth strategy. Within this strategy, the EU and its member states call for the green and digital recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We more and more live in a global world community and we more and more see that challenges have to be dealt with at that global level. We need to shape our economies for the coming decades, and our choices will determine the future of our children and grandchildren. The COP-26 in Glasgow demonstrates that the world’s race for net zero emissions by mid-century is on, and by working together we can all be winners. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the COP-26 in Glasgow is “A moment of truth for the global community”. And at COP-26, we have the duty of protecting our planet for future generations. This can only be met through global commitment but also equal access to digital technologies.

The European Union’s new comprehensive Strategy with Africa builds on five partnerships:

1. A partnership for the green transition and energy access

2. A partnership for digital transformation

3. A partnership for sustainable growth and jobs

4. A partnership for peace, security and governance

5. A partnership on migration and mobility

As one can see, at least three of these partnerships directly relates to this year’s theme.

In addition, EU’s Trade Policy Review, which is of course aligned with the European Green Deal, aims at “An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy”. As such, it will focus on three core objectives:

  • First, supporting the recovery and fundamental transformation of the EU economy in line with its green and digital objectives.
  • Second, shaping global rules for a more sustainable and fairer globalisation.
  • Third, increasing the EU’s capacity to pursue its interests and enforce its rights, including autonomously where needed.

As we can see again, two of these three core objectives focus on this year’s theme.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Our messages and directions are clear. Europe and Africa are the closest neighbour. Our envisaged partnerships will determine EU’s future economic and trade relations with Africa in general. In this regard, support to COMESA and its member states plays and will continue to play a central role.

This is a new beginning of an exciting journey, which will be challenging, but will also offer new opportunities for regional economic integration, connectivity and our neighbourhood relations.

With this, I wish you all a very successful Council of Ministers meeting.

– Thank You –

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