By Judith Akolo
The European Union has signed a €4.485 million Technical Cooperation Facility with the Common Markets for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) as part of the 1.3 Billion for six years beginning 2014 to 2020.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Zambia and Special representative to COMESA Ambassador Alessandro Mariani and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed the agreement for the facility which is part of the €1.3 billion provided by the EU under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for the EA-SA-IO region signed in June 2015 for the period 2014 – 2020.
The distribution to the five Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will be thus; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) €1,525,000 , Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) €1,615,000, East African Community (EAC) €1,525,000 Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) €1,435,000 and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) €900,000
According to a statement released by the COMESA secretariat, € 600 million will be used on the infrastructure projects; €205 million will be used for selected cross-regional actions and €450 million are for the specific envelopes of COMESA, EAC, IGAD, IOC and SADC. COMESA is expected to receive Euro 85 million.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya hailed the European Union for its continued support in economic integration of the EA-SA-IO region and in particular the COMESA sub-region.
“It is not an understatement that without the support of the EU the achievements made by COMESA in regional integration would have been less than optimal,” said Ngwenya and added “COMESA already has a framework to ensure that we deliver time bound results and demonstrate value for money for this facility.”
Head of EU Delegation in Zambia Alessandro Mariani said the TCF will be instrumental in supporting the design of new regional programmes to be funded by the European Union in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.
“This technical facility will provide technical support for studies, sector surveys, stakeholders’ consultations, communication and monitoring activities in various development areas such as trade integration, migration, maritime security and wildlife conservation,” he said.
“The TCF will also support policy dialogue between COMESA and the European Union, as well as coordination among the regional organisations in this region of Africa.”