Services in COMESA

An Industry Perspective: Integrating the Voice of Business in Policy

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This joint ITC–CBC paper provides a regional overview of services sectors and services trade for COMESA, drawing attention to opportunities for growth and regional integration – analyses data for four key services subsectors (travel, transport, communication and financial and insurance services), and provides Services Snapshots for each COMESA member. The paper maps business and professional services associations in COMESA services industries and identifies the major challenges faced by services stakeholders; examines the option of developing a COMESA Regional Services Industries Group (RSIG) as a positive step towards a coordinated platform for overcoming the growth challenges to provide a better business environment for services industries in the COMESA region.



Regional overview on services

Services are increasingly recognized as an important link to all other sectors, including goods, since they are key inputs to other areas of the economy like the manufacturing industry. This is also known as ‘servicification’, an indicator that describes the trend of higher services content in manufacturing, such as infrastructure, transport, financial intermediation, information and technology services. International organizations, like the World Bank (WB), have been collecting data which shows that the services sector accounts for around half or more of the GDP in value–added terms for the following different aggregates: High-income countries (HIC), low-income countries (LIC), least developed countries (LDCs) and the world. COMESA is no different: WB data shows that the services share of GDP in value–added terms in 2012 was 53%. This is, however, low compared with the global average of 70% and the HIC average of 74% in the same year. compares these results over two years, 2008 and 2012. In relative terms, the COMESA share increase was the second fastest with a 4% growth rate, after Sub–Saharan Africa (SSF) with 12%. The similarity in the improvements could be explained by the fact that with the exception of Egypt and Libya, all COMESA countries fall into the SSF group, and those countries that drove SSF share’s growth also drove COMESA share’s growth. These are: Mauritius, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.


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