COMESA Building, Right Wing, 2nd floor, Ben Bella Road, Lusaka, Zambia.
+260 211 229725/32 or + 260 761 228 754

Policy & Advocacy

Policy & Advocacy Services

The objective for the CBC is to play a lobbing and advocacy role with a view to boost policy initiatives for a more conducive business environment, to enhance the vitality and competitiveness of the business sector in the region. CBC should strategically influence regional policies and advocate for their ratification and implementation at the national level to promote a better business environment in the COMESA region.

The COMESA Business Council is established 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). The Treaty states that “Member States shall endeavor to adopt programmes to strengthen and promote the role of the private sector as an effective force for the development, progress and reconstruction of their respective economies”. This is intended, among other purposes, to ensure:

1. Inclusive participation in the formulation and implementation of regional trade policy and negotiations;

2. Effective and functional public-private partnerships; and

3. Trade development and promotion.

The objectives for Business and Policy advocacy pillar include:

1. Addressing key obstacles to business growth, through a diagnostic instrument that is a flagship of the CBC.

2. Ensuring private sector consultation on policy processes.

3. Preparing evidence-based position papers
Ensuring political will to initiate, implement policy and institutional reforms for a more competitive business environment.

4. Conveying the private sector’s concerns and issues in major policy areas.

5. Drafting model policy bills based on position papers for intervention at policy level

6. Streamlining regulatory and administrative measures affecting entrepreneurial activity
Stimulating actions to improve the overall business environment.

7. Promoting the public-private dialogue and partnership. This is convening an annual high level Public Private Dialogue which brings together Associations, industry leaders with high level policy makers, Ministers and Heads of States to engage on issues of private sector interest.

8. Establish a program of technical experts as a business outreach scheme on addressing day to day challenges in doing business.

Therefore, through our Business and Policy advocacy pillar, we seek to promote the private sector’s active contribution in the formulation of position papers on timely constraints or competitiveness issues affecting businesses in the region- and a create a platform to directly advocate to the policy and decision makers of the region.

These are implemented through the CBC Technical workgroups;

– SM-Enterprises;
– Manufacturers Work Group;
– Agriculture- Seed, Horticulture
– Agro Industry- Tobacco
– Tourism;
– Transporters and Logistics Services
– Financial Services;
– Digital Services Industry
– Professional Services Industry
– Trade Facilitation And Non-Tariff Barriers’; (Cross Cutting);
– Coalition of Services Industries.

The services driven workgroups falls under the Technical Committee on Coalition of Services Industries, while the SME and Manufacturers’ workgroup falls under the Technical Committee on Agri-business and Industry.

The Activities over the Next Year Include;

Develop two flagship business policy advocacy programs to address business impediments in COMESA: Annual Business Trader Index, Annual Anti- corruption for business Index

To provide well informed business policy research reports per year on trade flow analysis and business intelligence to stakeholders

To expand on and/ or establish eight Business Cluster Working Groups in five years

To host three sector driven Public-Private Dialogues per year through the workgroups

Development and adoption of two policy bills per year

Host two technical committee meetings back to back with COMESA Summit

Host two technical committees per year on trade and industry and services industry to ensure private sector consultation and cohesion on positions to be presented at the Council of Ministers meetings

Support national associations through public-private consultations in five countries per year, known as the National Business Agendas, to support private sector input on domestication or regional trade facilitation instruments

Develop four position papers per year for strategic advocacy

Host the annual COMESA Business Forum and Annual Trade Fair

Hold one Presidential Business Dialogue at the regional level to present key business agendas to the Summit

Expected Results

1. Two CBC flagship programs recognized at the regional level to address business impediments.

2. Strengthened national associations consultations and influence on policy agendas.

3. Annual Anti-Corruption Code adopted by businesses
Strengthened private sector intervention and influence on driving policy.

4. Two policies adopted by COMESA per year as a result of CBC models.

5. Private sector informed on market constraints and how they can be addressed through business intervention
Strengthened common platform of private sector participation at the policy organ level