Press releases

ITC, COMESA renew commitment for regional economic cooperation

8 December 2023
ITC News

(Lusaka/Geneva)– The International Trade Centre (ITC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 2 November 2023 to strengthen their collaborative efforts in advancing regional development and economic integration in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The MoU, which builds on the five-year long partnership between ITC and COMESA, delineates plans to collaboratively advance inter alia regional market integration, trade facilitation, developing priority sectors and value chains, advancing the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), promoting youth and women economic empowerment, as well as institutional capacity building. COMESA and ITC will also partner to promote investments within the regional economic community.

Recent evidence suggests a significant increase in COMESA’s trade globally and within the region above the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. However, key challenges and constraints persist, notably in terms of slow and delayed domestication of agreed protocols, proliferation of non-tariff barriers, low levels of value addition, slow harmonization/weak coordination of multiple integration arrangements, and low investment in clean technologies. 

The strategic partnership is set to achieve sustainable economic development and prosperity across COMESA Member States and marks a significant step towards realizing regional economic growth and development objectives in Eastern and Southern Africa, while promoting prosperity, inclusivity, and sustainability in the COMESA region and in Africa.


‘This MoU is a recognition of a long-standing relationship between ITC and the COMESA, with many examples of past successful cooperation. It is also more than a mere formalization of our collaboration, as it opens a whole new chapter in our joint work to ultimately benefit the people of the COMESA Member States.’

Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive-Director, International Trade Centre

‘The results achieved through our previous partnership inspire us to consolidate, expand and deepen our partnership through this MoU to enable us to achieve even more impactful results.’

Chileshe Kapwepwe, Secretary General, COMESA


For more information, please contact:

  • For ITC, Ludmila Azo, lazo [at] (lazo[at]intracen[dot]org)
  • For COMESA, Mwangi Gakunga, mgakunga [at] (mgakunga[at]comesa[dot]int)

About ITC

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets.


COMESA is a regional economic community established in 1994. It brings together 21 African Member States with a population of over 640 million people into a cooperative framework for sustainable economic growth and prosperity through regional integration.