Egypt's Investment Minister Osama Saleh said Friday in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit in Kampala that cooperation with the African organization comes on top of Egyptian priorities. Addressing the summit on behalf of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Saleh reiterated that COMESA played a major role increasing bilateral investments between member countries. Saleh noted that the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and COMESA in 2011 reached $2.5 billion while it jumped during the first three months in 2012 to $2.5 billion. The Egyptian minister added establishing a continental free zone in Africa is urgent necessity for tackling current challenges in the global economic system. Saleh also highlighted small- and medium-sized enterprises as an important factor in economical development and integration, saying that Egypt realized this aspect more than two decades ago. Egypt was keen to provide all technical and financial resources to support private sector and establish links between small and big projects under the umbrella of the Egyptian Social Fund for Development (SFD), Saled said. The SFD, which provides feasibility studies and financial facilities for small projects, succeeded in expanding its circle of partners from the private and public sectors. Saleh said also that in spite of current level of cooperation and investments between the African courtiers, it does meet the aspirations of member states. "We need harder work to enhance bilateral relations and investment opportunities." He reitera for implementing last agreed steps in COMESA to enhance mutual trade and economic cooperation. Saleh concluded Morsi's speech to the summit by appreciating efforts exerted in COMESA and invited the participants to visit Egypt. Egypt will organize the third round of COMESA summit in Cairo in the second half of the year 2013 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).