Egypt will run candidates for the top post of trading bloc COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Egypt's Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Qabil said in a statement on Thursday.
The move is aimed at "bolstering Egypt's role in the African continent... and boost[ing] its trade and investment ties" with the bloc's 19 member nations, the minister added.
Candidacy for the post opened on 3 January. Each country aiming to run for the seat is required to field five candidates by 6 February, according to COMESA's regulations.
The newly elected candidate will replace Zimbabwean Sindiso Ndema Ngwenya.
Founded in 1994 to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) from the early 1980s in Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA's main objective is to promote sustainable economic development and overcome trade hindrances faced by individual states.
Egypt's exports to the COMESA countries are estimated at around $1.7 billion, while imports from the bloc's nations amount to some $600 million, according to the ministry.