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Comesa visa expected in two years

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Talks are now at an advanced stage to establish the Comesa Business Visa, an initiative seeking to make it easy for business persons from countries that make up the Common Market for eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to move across borders.

The Comesa Secretariat has confirmed that once adopted, the visa could be operational in the next two years.

Representatives from Comesa member states are expected to meet this week in Zambia to review and validate proposals that have been made so far.

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The dialogue is further expected to enhance deliberations between the private sector and governments on pertinent migration issues to ensure that the existing policies contribute to increased trade, tourism flows, and business engagement in the region, according to a statement from the Comesa secretariat.

Key recommendations arising from the dialogue will be streamlined into an advocacy position for the Comesa Business Council and the proposed instrument is expected to be tabled for adoption before the Comesa policy organs and Summit meetings that will take place in Madagascar from October 10 to 19.

The common visa initiative is a follow-up to the recommendations that were presented to the Comesa Council of Ministers by the private sector in 2012 on the need to come up with an interim solution to facilitate the movement of business persons in the region.

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Since then, the Comesa Business Council has been working on developing the proposed instruments that can be adopted as a Comesa Business Visa which will provide for multiple entries for business persons in the region.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the Comesa Business Council, Sandra Uwera, the proposed visa will help to facilitate and expedite the movement of business persons in the Comesa region as well as increasing trade and integration.

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