President Peter Mutharika held an audience with the Comesa Secretary GeneralBy Patricia Kapulula
LILONGWE-Malawi is expected to host the first ever Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) youth conference as one way of promoting innovation and sharing of ideas among the youth in the region.
This was revealed at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Thursday when President Peter Mutharika held an audience with the Comesa Secretary General.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emmanuel Fabiano told journalists after the audience that the youth conference comes following a promise President Mutharika made during the last Comesa meeting.
He said Malawi promotes the youth in different ways and as such the forthcoming conference goes a long way in fulfilling that.
“During this conference a number of activities will take place and all of them are focused on finding ways of empowering the youth in Comesa member states. We believe that the interaction that we had was fruitful looking at the agreement to host the youth conference,” he said.
Discussions on when to host the youth conference, what will be discussed and who to invite are currently underway.
Comesa Secretary General, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe committed her organization’s total support in regional integration as well as supporting youth programs in coming up with innovations that would lead them to becoming entrepreneurs.
She said the youth conference will go a long way in assisting that support to the youth through issues that will be deliberated at the conference.
“The conference will deliberate on issues on where we want to help the youth in terms of setting up innovation and supporting structures that can support the innovative ideas into becoming businesses.
Not only that but also helping the youth to link them up and support them in employment and setting up Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” she said.
In youth development innovation the youth will be helped through mentorship programs on how they can turn their ideas into businesses.
She said the mentorship program is important as it will accord the youth to start the business up to where they become fully operational.
“It was also noted that we need to have a regional approach as the youth are sharing ideas not only in Malawi but also to share those ideas across the member countries,” she said.
The Secretary General said it is for this reason that the youth conference is a good starting point to see what areas the region can encourage the youth to share ideas and experiences thereby developing their individual businesses or enterprises with the help of other experiences and knowledge and best practice across the region.
President Mutharika was grateful for the visit by the Comesa Secretary General saying it is important for the advancement of projects both in Malawi and the region especially that which targets women and the youth.
He said Malawi is committed to supporting the region achieve African integration which he said is key to development.
The Comesa Secretary General came to inspect some projects that the regional body is financing and to discuss how best Malawi and the region could work together on such projects financed by Comesa.