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Members of the COMESA Business Council (CBC) have elected a new Board of Directors for the years 2024 to 2026 during the 11th Annual General Meeting, which was held in hybrid mode (in-person and virtually) at the Radison Blu Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia.

Mr. James Chimwaza, representing the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), emerged as the new CBC Board President. Mr. Mucai Kunyiha, from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), assumes the role of 1st Vice President, with Dr. Sherif El Gabaly from the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) elected as the 2nd Vice President and Mrs. Munkeni Kiekie Eliane from the Federation Des Entreprises Du Congo (FEC) serving as the 3rd Vice President.

Other members elected to the Board of Directors include Engineer Melaku Ezezew from the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, Mr. Issa Sekitto from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Dr. Tinashe Manzungu from the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, and Mrs. Namita Jagarnath Hardowar from the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

Mr. Marday Venkatasamy will serve as the immediate past president. The Secretary General of COMESA, Her Excellency Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, is the ex officio member of the Board, and the Chief Executive Officer of CBC, Mr. Teddy Soobramanien, is the secretary to the Board.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. James Chimwaza indicated that there is abundant human capital within the COMESA region, particularly its youthful population, which is crucial in driving development initiatives. He therefore underscored the CBC’s commitment, alongside private sector stakeholders, to providing developmental solutions within the region, and expressed gratitude for the trust placed in his leadership.
The newly elected CBC Board President previously served as the CBC 2nd Vice President for the 2021–2023 tenure

Meanwhile, CBC outgoing board president Mr. Marday Venkatasamy stated that the council has recorded success and growth in the past 5 years he has served on the board and called on the new CBC leadership to continue supporting the new president.

Speaking during the AGM, COMESA Secretary General, Her Excellency Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, called for consolidated efforts to develop sustainable businesses and robust economies that can take full advantage of regional markets.

Her Excellency Ms. Kapwepwe said CBC is an essential vehicle in promoting private sector growth and development and regional economic integration, hence the need for integrated efforts in achieving this.

She expressed satisfaction with the significant rebound in COMESA’s global and intra-regional trade above pre-pandemic levels, noting that COMESA’s total exports to the world increased from $100 billion in 2020 to $205 billion in 2022, while intra-COMESA exports rose from $10 billion to $14 billion over the same period.