The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is expected to receive €85 million from the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund Regional Indicative programme for the EA-SA-IO region signed last year.
The funding is part of an overall kitty of €1,3 billion provided by the EU where out of the total funding, €600 million will be used for blending and leveraging of funds to enable implementation of regional infrastructure projects.
A total of €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.
Under the funding agreement, the EU yesterday signed a €4,485 million Technical Cooperation Facility to support implementation of regional integration programmes in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and India Ocean region.
The recent funding agreement was signed by Head of the European Delegation to Zambia and Special representative to Comesa Ambassador Alessandro Mariani and Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya appreciated the European Union’s continued support to the 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,”
“Comesa already has a framework to ensure that we deliver time bound results and demonstrate value for money for this facility,” said Mr Ngwenya.
Under the recent agreement five Regional Economic Communities, Comesa, Southern Africa Development Community, East African Community ,Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Indian Ocean Commission will share the funds as follows, Comesa (€1 525 000) EAC (€1 525 000) Sadc (€1 615 000) IGAD (€1 435 000) and IOC (€900 000).
Ambassador Mariani added that the TCF will be instrumental in supporting the design of new regional programmes to be funded by the EU in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.
“Among others it 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,” said Ambassador Mariani.
“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.”
Infrastructure projects are among priority projects to be considered in Comesa under the funding from EU. These projects include power interconnectors, one-stop-border-posts, roads and bridges construction on the key transit corridors.
Other key projects will be on regional economic integration programmes and these will target reducing the cost of cross-border trade though removal of internal barriers, increasing the participation of small and medium enterprises in global values chains and enhancing the capacity of the Comesa Secretariat to engage with its member States including private sector.