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ARUSHA, TANZANIA, March 30– President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has left Arusha, Tanzania, for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to attend the two-day Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Heads of State and Government Summit which opens on Monday.

President Mugabe, who is the current African Union (AU) chairman, arrived in Arusha on Saturday where he officiated at the Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum, running from March 27 to 31, which seeks to deepen inter-action and exchange of ideas for development between Africa and China.

This year’s Comesa Summit is running under the theme, “inclusive and sustainable industrialization” and has already been preceded by several meetings of senior officials and ministers responsible for trade. Issues which will be under the spotlight at the summit include trade and Customs, infrastructure, Comesa programmes financing and progress on iimplementation of the integration agenda with other trading blocs.

Established in 1994, Comesa which has a combined population of over 450 million and a gross domestic product (GDO) of 560 billion US dollars, aims to facilitate trade. Zimbabwe is a member of the Comesa trading bloc which has 19 member countries.

Comesa is aiming to establish a common market this year and progress into a monetary union by 2018.

At the Addis Ababa summit, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila, who currently chairs the bloc, is expected to hand over the reins to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

President Mugabe was seen of at the Kilimanjaro International Airport here by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, Major General (Ret.) Edzai Chimonyo, and senior Tanzanian government officials.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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