Lusaka, Tuesday, April 25, 2017: A Grant Management Manual that will guide the implementation of project support under the COMESA Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) programme has been launched.

The launch was conducted at the COMESA Secretariat during the opening of a three day regional workshop attended by representatives from 10 member States countries that are implementing the various COMESA Adjustment Facility/ RISM projects.

The COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) is funded through the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF) with a total budget of € 111 million available to Member States to support improved implementation of regional programmes at the national level.

Speaking at the launch RISM Coordinator, Mrs. Hope Situmbeko said the specific objective of the manual was to set down procedures which will facilitate sound, efficient, accurate, trackable and auditable actions, to be adopted by grant beneficiary institutions receiving project support under the RISM programme.

She said: “The manual will be useful in providing standardised procurement procedures for projects funded under COMESA that use EDF grant implementation modalities. In addition, it presents modifications that have been adapted to suit the context in which the projects shall be implemented.”

Among others, the manual highlights the roles and responsibilities of the key actors in implementing the grants. It provides a simplified outline of finance and operation procedures to be applied and the checklists and templates that will assist with compliance with the stated procedures. It also outlines the files and documents needed for the financial management, implementation and administration of grant projects at COMESA and project levels.

In recognition of the source of funding of the RISM programme, Mrs Situmbeko stated that implementing institutions could use their own procedures provided that they are positively assessed by the EU and found to be adequate, reliable and consistent with international standards and practices.

She further explained that for Member States that are not eligible to use their own procedures or elect to use the project approach the RISM programme provides for the use of the COMESA financial rules and regulations. This is in addition to Procurement Rules and Regulations and Implementation Procedures which may be issued by the Secretary General, whenever required.

Countries participating in the workshop comprised of Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.