Malawian President Peter Mutharika got a pleasant surprise at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Heads of State and Government Summit when the Secretariat announced the President’s birthday and presented him with flowers.
The COMESA delegates instinctively stood in ovation, applauding the Malawi President with hand-clapping. Twenty-one African countries were present.
Mutharika’s birthday coincides with with Nelson Mandela’s, another great statesman of Africa.
In his response, President Mutharika said, “I have been surprised. I forgot this is my birthday.”
Mutharika turns 78 on this day of 18th July 2018.
He left the country on Wednesday morning through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe and he is expected to address the summit on digitization and youth financial integration.
“I will give two key note addresses focusing on digital economy and integrating the youth in financial management and how it can help in eradicating poverty in COMESA region,” Mutharika said.
The President will address the summit on these issues as champion of youth welfare both at the local and international stage.
The theme for this year’s summit meeting is “COMESA: Towards Digital Economic integration”.
The theme intends to highlight the prevailing focus on fully digitizing the COMESA Free Trade Area business processes under the digital Free Trade Area (DFTA) initiative, which will incorporate e-Commerce, e-Legislation and e-logistics.
The drive towards digital integration was introduced after an agreement made during the COMESA Council of Ministers committee meeting held in the same city of Lusaka, Zambia in November last year.
The 20th COMESA summit is set to make history with its membership poised to rise from 19 to 21 as Somalia and Tunisia become new members after fulfilling terms and conditions of accession to the body’s treaty. The joining of the two will make the bloc the largest regional economic community in Africa.
The summit is also expected to appoint a new Secretary General to take over from Sindiso Ngwenya, a Zimbabwean economist and transportation expert whose tenure is coming to an end.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :