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KING INVITES LEADERS TO SD

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Jun-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has invited 19 Heads of State and Government to Swaziland for the 14th COMESA Summit to be held in 2010

The King hinted that the theme for the next summit could be coined around the use of ICT for profitability. At the time, the King will assume chairmanship of COMESA and thus Swaziland will play host of the important summit for countries whose collective population figures exceed 400 million.

He is currently the vice-chairman, whilst President Robert Mugabe assumed chairmanship and his predecessor, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, is Rapporteur.

His Majesty promised the leaders that they will be able to enjoy Swaziland’s hospitality whilst attending the summit. The King made the remarks during the 13th Heads of State Summit, which was concluded in Zimbabwe. He had been asked by the Heads of State to give a ‘Vote of Thanks’on their behalf for the success of the conference and the world-class facilities that were laid out by Zimbabwe.

“As we close this summit, allow me to extend an invitation to all COMESA member States to our next summit in the Kingdom of Swaziland next year for the 14th COMESA Summit. Let me assure you that you will be able to enjoy our true Swazi hospitality and experience the rich cultural heritage which is the embodiment of the African renaissance. We look forward to welcoming you to the Kingdom,” he said. His Majesty, on behalf of the Heads of State and Government, thanked President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe for their success in hosting a world-class conference, despite the economic difficulties the country is going through.

“We enjoyed our brief stay at Victoria Falls, which is not only convenient for summits, but also one of the major tourist attraction areas. We are extremely grateful for the hospitality that has been generously extended to us since our arrival, and for making our stay such a memorable experience. “We know that Zimbabwe is going through economic recovery, but they have been able to hold this summit successfully. This confirms that the people of Zimbabwe are working together for the improvement of their country. To that extent, we commend all the people who have been involved in the preparations for this summit,” His Majesty said.

…MAKE COMESA A SUCCESS STORY

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has thrown down the gauntlet on all leaders of Africa to work hard to make COMESA the success story of our time by turning it into a vehicle for accelerating the integration of the continent’s economies.

He said he was optimistic that COMESA will continue to demonstrate its commitment to work for the people of the region. His Majesty also congratulated COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya for his appointment, adding that his vast experience in the organisation would come in handy. “Ngwenya may be new in this position but his service and contribution to the Authority is very long,” the King said. He said the summit deliberated on several challenges among which was the global financial crisis, which affects Africa’s development.

The King said in their deliberations, they agreed that Africa needed to step up the gear in as far as the use of ICT for development purposes was concerned. His Majesty said as leaders they agreed to close the information divide through education, proper planning and execution of strategies that will result in profitability in all that is done. “Therefore, embracing ICT for profitability could be the theme for the next summit,” he said. The King said the launch of the COMESA Customs Union was a major step in the process of enhancing the economic integration of the continent. He said as leaders they envisaged that this could lead to a more practical COMESA.

“We hope that the discussions that are ongoing on the establishment of the single economic community will be able to address some of the trading impediments within and between our communities,” he said. His Majesty added that the leaders were encouraged that COMESA was continuing with efforts to promote peace in the region.


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