THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Iran are set to explore business joint ventures expected to see the Middle East country investing in various economic sectors within the region.
Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Zambia Mr Ahmad Erfanian, who is also Iran’s special representative, recently presented his credentials to Comesa secretary general Mr Sindiso Ngwenya highlighting his country’s keen interest to invest in Comesa member states.
In a statement, Comesa quoted Amb Erfanian saying his country was keen to invest in the various sectors of the trading bloc’s economies such as mining, energy, agricultural, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.
“Iran has a promising perspective in energy, mining, health, agriculture and many more and so we can have more co-operation in these sectors and help boost economies of the countries in the region.
“I hope, at the very beginning, we shall be able to establish the Iranian/Comesa Business Council as well as establish banking co-operation between the two sides to facilitate trade,” he said.
On behalf of Comesa, Mr Ngwenya said co-operation with Iran would assist the region in the transfer of skills through training and capacity building (road maintenance, power and electrical, irrigation and water management, vaccine and animal health management, agricultural and natural resource research and other relevant areas).
Opportunities for joint ventures between Comesa and the Iranian private sectors are in petroleum refineries, agro-processing, water and waste water management, motor vehicles and tractor assembly, farm machinery production, pharmaceutical production, veterinary drugs production, and livestock or livestock products.
Vast opportunities were also available in infrastructural development projects such as road and railway development, dam construction, mineral exploration and production, energy projects, cement manufacturing and housing development.
At the moment, Iran has already developed bilateral co-operation with some Comesa member States including Sudan, Eritrea, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
In February 2010, Comesa and Iran signed an Aide Memoir to formalise and promote co-operation in health, infrastructure, agriculture, maritime transport, manufacturing, energy, project preparation and financing.