By Dorothy Nakaweesi (Daily Monitor) -
KAMPALA. The membership COMESA has risen to 21 following the admission of Tunisia and Somalia at the 20th Summit of the Heads of State and Government that had concluded today in Lusaka, Zambia.
Tunisia was admitted as the 20th member while Somalia followed as 21st member of COMESA after having fulfilled the COMESA terms and conditions of accession to the COMESA Treaty.
Tunisia first applied for observer status in COMESA in 2005 but the matter was not concluded. In February 2016, the country formally wrote to the Secretary General making enquiries on joining.
Somalia was formerly a full member of the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA), the predecessor to COMESA. However, it failed to make the transition due to lack of government following a long civil war. Tunisia first applied for observer status in COMESA in 2005 but the matter was not concluded.
Tunisia Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Khemaies Jhinaoui signed the accession instruments while the
Article 4 of the Treaty provides that the COMESA Authority may admit a country which is an immediate neighbour of a member State upon fulfilling conditions set forth including acceptance of the COMESA aims and objectives, compliance with the general undertakings and fundamental principles and wishing to co-operate with the regional bloc.