The European Union has provided 1.3 Billion Euros to support security enhancement and regional integration programmes in the East Africa-South Africa-Indian Ocean region. This follows the conclusion of discussion for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) support between the EU and five regional organizations.

The funds will be provided through the Regional Indicative Programme of the EU to support the Member States and Partner States of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Chief Executives of the four organizations signed the support agreement with the EU early this month in Brussels thus setting the stage for the release of the funds.

The support will cover three priority areas namely peace, security and regional stability, regional economic integration and regional natural resources management with the aim of enhancing economic growth. The support programme runs until 2020.

COMESA will receive €85 mln under the Regional Indicative Programme, which will be mainly used to advance the implementation the regional economic integration agenda through projects and programmes intended to reduce cost of cross-border trade. In addition the funds will be used to increase private sector participation in regional and global value chains and enhance the capacity of the COMESA Secretariat and its member States to deepen regional integration.

Allocation for the other organizations are as follows; EAC (€85 mln), IGAD (€80 mln), IOC (€50 mln) and SADC (€90 mln). Additional funds have also been provided for regional infrastructure financing (€600 mln) and other cross regional projects (€205 mln).

Beneficiaries of this EU support comprise of countries that are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) in the East Africa-South Africa-Indian Ocean region. They include Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Neven Mimica, Commissioner of International Development for the EU on one hand and the CEOs of the Regional organizations Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya (COMESA) Dr Richard Sezibera (EAC) Dr Stergomena Tax (SADC), Eng. Mahboub Maalim (IGAD) and Mr. Jean Claude de L’Estrac.