On 29 June 2018, the Director General of the OIE, Dr Monique Eloit and the Executive Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), H.E. Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which has now officially been released.
COMESA is a free trade area with nineteen (19) African Member Countries stretching from Libya to Swaziland, and cutting across several regional economic communities.It was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981.
Its headquarters are in Lusaka, Zambia. Its main focus is the formation of a large economic and trading area to overcome trade barriers faced by its Member Countries.
Given the emphasis of COMESA on free and safe trade between its member countries, and the OIE mandate of animal health, welfare and veterinary public health, the two organisations will collaborate on issues of common interest to their mandate and form good synergies for the benefit of their member countries.
These are in particular related to harmonisation of legislation and regulations; harmonisation of procedures for registration and control of veterinary medicines, including vaccines; active contribution the standard setting activities under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Measures to the standard setting activities under the OIE; the coordination and harmonisation of control of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and ensuring resilience to disease-related risks and shocks; the design and implementation of epidemiological surveillance, disease reporting and animal health information systems; the development of regional guidelines for trade in animals and animal products; supporting existing OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres in the COMESA region and support twinning agreements to increase the number of OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres; the preparation of applications by COMESA Member States, for official recognition by the OIE of freedom from specific diseases at national or zonal level, with or without vaccination, in order to facilitate regional and international market access; and the overall strengthening of the Veterinary Services of COMESA Member States, based on outcomes of PVS Pathway missions, amongst others through support for the organisation of training courses in academic institutions in the veterinary field and the field of animal production food safety.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be in force until 28 June 2022.