The COMESA Business Council as the Consultative Committee of the Business Community is authorized by the COMESA Treaty to provide a link and facilitate dialogue between the business community as well as other Organs of the Common Market (Article 18). CBC, as a Policy organ of COMESA that represents the private sector in all levels of decision making at the regional level, has the mandate to represent the private sector in policy and trade negotiations for regional integration in the region. In fulfillment of the above, CBC convenes a diverse number of Public Private Dialogues to engage the public and private sectors on key constraints and challenges faced by businesses in the region. These also act as pivotal advocacy platforms to upscale private sector development in the regional integration agenda. There are mainly two types of forums;
- The COMESA Business Forum is an annual event that brings together the leaders of industry, policy makers and businesses in the region to an interactive platform that seeks to dialogue and institute policy recommendations for an improved business environment in the COMESA region. This is the hallmark of advocacy and Public Private Dialogue, and is held on the margins of the COMESA Heads of State Summit. By providing Regional and International Business leaders a platform to discuss and engage Ministers of Trade and Industry and, Heads of States in the respective COMESA Member states, the private sector is able to have a direct influence in policy and have some of their constraints and challenges addressed.
- Sectoral Public Private Dialogues are convened in some of the key sectors; such as Manufacturing, SMEs’ and the Services Sectors. These are focused on addressing specific issues and constraints being faced by the businesses in the respective sectors. The Dialogues’ leads to the development of private sector positions; which are then tabled to the respective COMESA policy organs meetings and the Business Forum for the appropriate actions.