Press releases

COMESA and ITC to deepen partnership, step up technical assistance

2 July 2019
ITC News
Better competitiveness at heart of continued effort to boost intra-African trade

(Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have announced they will step up cooperation with a view to boosting intra-African trade.

ITC Executive Director Arancha González and COMESA Secretary-General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe on 1 July 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on the design and implementation of trade-related technical assistance across the 21-strong trade bloc.

Building on past collaboration, the two organizations pledged to cooperate on areas such as regional market integration, industrialization, trade facilitation, enterprise competitiveness and the strengthening of regional trade and investment-support networks.
The two sides will place particular attention on the empowerment of women and youth through inclusive and sustainable trade.

‘Effective regional integration will require strong and competitive productive capacities within the member states to increase Intra-COMESA and global trade,’ said COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe. ‘Concerted efforts and stronger collaboration is needed to define and redefine national and regional programmes for an all-inclusive global transformation process.’

‘Increased intra-African trade holds the key to growth in African countries,’ said ITC Executive Director Arancha González. ‘Following the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), regional economic commissions such as COMESA have an even more critical role to play to ensure its success. At ITC we are very pleased to deepen our partnership with COMESA and help ensure more competitive businesses across the Member States.’

In line with both organizations’ goal of providing better opportunities for small businesses, both ITC and COMESA will step up their efforts to improve the trade facilitation environment in Member States, and strengthen support to institutions and businesswomen’s networks. 

Note to the Editor

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit

Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)