President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, yesterday arrived in Kinshasa heading Sudan delegation to the 17th Summit of the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA), scheduled to be held during February 26 - 27.
19 African countries, 10 states of them are of the Nile Basin, will take part at the Conference.
President Al-Bashir and was received upon arrival in Kinshasa by the President of Congo, Augustin Matata Ponyo.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Swaziland. COMESA was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981. Nine of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000 Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya,Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe), with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004, the Comoros and Libya in 2006, and Seychelles in 2009.
COMESA is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community.
In 2008, COMESA agreed to an expanded free-trade zone including members of two other African trade blocs, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). COMESA is also considering a common visa scheme to boost tourism.