COMESA strategy so far has been to emphasis the integration of the economic space through removal of trade and investment barriers. Although COMESA has made good progress using this approach, and will continue to pursue it, the focus in the next decade and beyond will shift towards development integration. This will mean giving increased prominence to the supply side of integration, namely investment in the productive sectors. This shift in emphasis recognises developments both at the global and regional level. Globalisation in general and trade liberalisation under WTO in particular is pushing countries to remove trade barriers and open up their markets. Regionally, COMESA trade and investment promotion programmes have improved the investment environment making it more attractive for investment in the productive sectors.
The attainment of full integration and the implementation of complete COMESA mandate under the Treaty is viewed as a long term objective. In the short to medium term the emphasis in programme focus will be trade development and investment, specifically, the elimination of impediments to trade and investment.
In COMESA's strategy of trade, investment and development integration, the private sector will play a central role. The Secretariat will work together with governments in COMESA to create the space and environment where the private sector can play its rightful role as the main driver of the economic integration process.