COMESA Annual Research Forum on

The COMESA Secretariat is holding Eighth Annual Research Forum virtually from 13-16 September 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Rethinking Trade and Doing Business in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Officials say the theme was been motivated by the shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic which has plunged the global economy into a deep recession comparable only to the 2008 financial crisis and the Great depression of the 1930’s.

According to trade experts, economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 resulted in an unprecedented decline of international trade in 2020.

The subdued trade volumes reflect in part, possible shifts in supply chains as firms restore production to reduce vulnerabilities from reliance on foreign producers.

For the COMESA region, disruptions in services supply have a broad economic and trade impact due to the sector’s role in providing inputs for other economic activities, including facilitating supply chains and trade in goods.

During the Forum, selected policy and empirical papers centered on the theme will be presented and discussed. COMESA will at the same time showcase selected Innovations among them; best performers will be awarded during the next Summit set for November 2021. The Awards are aimed at recognizing and celebrating individuals and institutions that have used science, technology, and innovation to advance regional integration agenda.

The Forum will have specific sub-themes which include Intra-COMESA

Trade and COVID-19; Digitalizing Trade, Trade Facilitation and COVID-19 pandemic; COVID-19 and Trade in Services in COMESA; Manufacturing, Regional Value Chains and COVID-19 in COMESA; Agricultural Trade, Food Security and COVID-19.

Delegates will also take stock of implementation of the COMESA Virtual

Masters Programme in regional integration which is currently running in University of Mauritius and Kenyatta University. Thirty-five students are currently pursuing the programme with 29 being beneficiaries of the COMESA Scholarship awards funded by the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union.

The Eighth Annual COMESA Research Forum through evidenced based research will enable COMESA to effectively and efficiently respond to emerging global and regional challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The research Forums has been insightful and added value to the quality of analytical research being carried out. The final papers are published in the COMESA flagship publication “Key Issues in Regional Integration”. To date, eight editions have been published and the nineth edition will be out by end of 2021,” said Director of Trade and Customs Dr Christopher Onyango.

Launched in 2014, COMESA has been organizing Annual Research Forums which brings together the academia, think tanks, government officers and the private sector to discuss emerging topical issues in regional integration. This is made possible through call for papers under a contemporary theme which is informed by the COMESA Council of Ministers decisions, the emerging global economic and trade dynamics.

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