Comesa 'business visa' nears implementation

Comesa 'business visa' nears implementation
Published: 02 July 2014
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) is close to implementing a business visa for the region.

Speaking at workshop to finalise policies and challenges hindering cross border movement, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi said the implementation of the business visa will allow business transactions to be done more swiftly.

"As Comesa we have already initiated a system where we want a business visa that is uniform. If we have our business people moving freely within the region it will allow decision making in terms of business to be made quicker than what it is now and that will boost our economies," said Ziyambi.

The meeting's agenda was to promote trade, free movement of goods, elimination of visas and the alignment of business laws to all the 19 member states in the Comesa Region.

"This workshop is particularly relevant as it comes at a time when Comesa Ministers responsible for Immigration have highlighted to member states, the need to embark on the process of documenting existing migration data for use at the national and regional levels.

"Zimbabwe has already demonstrated its commitment to the Comesa immigration agenda by being one of the four signatories to the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Labour and Services," he said.

The Deputy Minister also said as Comesa, they were working on the relaxation of visa to allow free movement of goods and services to promote cross border traders since they contribute to economy growth.

"Already Zimbabwe is complying with the Comesa protocol on the gradual relaxation of visa requirements on a bilateral basis," said Ziyambi.

Also speaking Wednesday morning, Brian Chigawa, Comesa division of legal and institutional affairs director said they are focusing on promoting trade within the region by simplifying movement of goods and people.

"The Comesa integration agenda has focused on promoting trade and investment through the launching of the Comesa free trade area. Comesa has made progress in terms of moving goods but you realise that when goods have to move people too have to move and we still have challenges in the movement of people," said Chigawa.

He said a great deal of regional trade is done by cross border traders who meet many difficulties that need to be addressed. "As a trade facilitation you also have to realise that a greater part of our trade in the region is done by cross border traders and mostly women. Those people meet a lot of challenges so in moving our integration agenda forward there is need to ensure that people are able to move in the region."

In addition, Chigawa said the difficulty of movement across borders can be a hindrance to investor support.

"You can use migration for development purposes because you cannot have a call for investors when it is very difficult for people to come into the country or try to promote trade when people cannot move across the borders," he said.
- Lynn Murahwa and Funny Hudzerema
Tags: Comesa, Visa,

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