COMESA Heads of State have urged member states to increase investment in research and innovation in the health sector to enhance socio-economic recovery of the region and generate more resilience against future disasters.
In a communique issued at the end of the 21st COMESA Summit, the leaders noted the devastating socio-economic and cultural effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across various sectors of the economy. The regional bloc also noted that it has been facing low vaccine production as well as access to those already produced.
Member states were urged by their leaders to invest in digital infrastructure to enhance universal access to internet. This will in turn help in addressing the challenges arising from the digital divide and support the digitalization of the economies.
The focus on the great impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and way forward was in line with the theme of this COMESA Summit: Building Resilience Through Strategic Digital Economic Integration. The theme advocated for the application of information and communication technology solutions in driving strong regional integration.
The member states commended Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, and other member states that are rolling out initiatives for vaccine production. They also called for the fair global distribution of vaccines, particularly for Africa.
Leaders of the bloc also endorsed the establishment of a Multi–Sectoral Technical Committee on health matters to coordinate and support regional programs on health-related matters at the Secretariat, which will be in line with Article 110 of the COMESA Treaty on Cooperation of Member States on Health Matters.
During the summit, member states were urged to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and address structural challenges to reduce the cost of doing business.