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The COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) is a special facility of The COMESA Fund which was adopted in 2002, with the objective of providing adjustment support to implement regional integration and trade related programmes within the nineteen (19) Member States. It was operationalized with the European Union (EU) resources in 2007, through the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM). The total resources envelope of The CAF is €111 million. Contributions to the Fund have been made by sixteen (16) Member states of The CAF. From the € 82.4 million approved for these members, 80% of the current CAF/RISM envelop has been disbursed.

Areas of Intervention
The CAF provides support to eligible Member States for social and economic costs adjustments, which includes:

  1. Addressing the loss of customs and other related tax revenues and other conditions mentioned herein in a sustainable manner;
  2. Contributing to implementing policy reforms designed to improve the efficiency of domestic markets, the business environment, facilitating the reallocation of capital, labour resources and assisting firms in meeting the cost of compliance to new obligations and further meet the social and economic costs of liberalisation;
  3. Contributing to improving the global competitiveness and resilience of economies and industries so that they are able to take advantage of new market opportunities through support to productive infrastructures and investment in developing new products, processes, and technologies.

Eligibility Criteria
In accordance with the Protocol of the COMESA Fund, the Ministerial Committee establishes the following eligibility criteria to access the CAF:

Administrative eligibility:

  • Deposit the instrument of ratification of the Protocol;
  • Payment of full assessed contributions to the Fund;
  • Compliance with Authority decisions on budgetary contributions to the Secretariat.

Regional Policy Eligibility:

  • Demonstration of engagement towards the effective implementation of the regional integration process of COMESA and the wider trade liberalisation arrangements consistent with the aims and objectives of the COMESA Treaty;
  • Engagement in an overall reform programme to implement adopted regional integration programmes including; regional trade liberalisation, facilitation of investment and facilitation of the movement of goods, services, capital and people across COMESA borders and improvement of the overall business environment as part of the process leading to a fully functional Common Market; or
  • Commitment to undertake necessary fiscal reforms to address the loss of revenue in the case of an application for support as a result of revenue loss arising out of the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers through the implementation of regional integration commitments.
  • Programme specific eligibility shall include:
  • The programmes shall be in accordance with the areas of intervention;
  • The programmes which have to be included in the Regional Integration Implementation Programmes (RIIP), have to be part of a recognised national economic strategy as reflected in a Member State’s policy and/or national development plan with clear linkages to implementation of regional trade programmes;
  • A programme co-financed by the national government or other cooperating partners or both; and
  • The programme shall include a Performance Assessment Framework (PAF) that will be agreed between the applicant country and the Secretariat on the basis of agreed RIIP indicators and yearly commitments made.


  1. The overall responsibility for managing the CAF lies with the Ministerial Committee;
  2. The Ministerial Committee shall delegate technical aspects of the oversight of the management of the CAF and the implementation of its policies to the COMESA Fund Technical Committee;
  3. The Technical Committee shall evaluate applications by Member States and forward a proposal for a Decision to the Ministerial Committee. Other members, such as representatives of cooperating partners or professionals may be co-opted;
  4. The Ministerial Committee and Technical Committee shall be technically and administratively responsible for the Management of the CAF and will be supported by the COMESA Secretariat.

The Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) is a programme embedded in the COMESA Adjustment Facility programme (CAF); which covers both COMESA and East African Community (EAC) and aims to assist countries from Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESA-IO), to continue with the process of economic liberalization, by making available resources that help to address some of the short term transition costs at national level that may hinder the progress of liberalization.

It is funded by the European Union (EU) under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF) having been established through a Contribution Agreement between COMESA and the European Union (EU) in 2007. The RISM programme is operationalized by the CAF, in terms of both the objectives and the delivery of technical support and financial resources, in accordance with the principles of Aid Effectiveness.

Role and objectives of RISM
The primary objective of the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) programme is to improve the implementation of regional commitments at the Member State level. The commitments are defined through a set of defined indicators, against which all countries that are eligible for RISM funding, provide annual targets. The RISM program has two distinct cycles. The first cycle relates to the core function of RISM which is the formulation, implementation and Monitoring of the Regional Integration Implementation Programmes (RIIP) and its associated Progress Monitoring Report (PMR).

The main objective of the first cycle is for the periodic review of the achievement of set targets outlined in RIIPs and on that basis approved resources allocations from the COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF).

The second cycle, which is a secondary process, involves the formulation and implementation of projects for those countries whose disbursements are through the project support modality. The project cycle provides an alternative disbursement modality for the countries that are not eligible for budget support.

While the budget support modality involves the transfer of funds to the Ministry of Finances of the Member States as soon as the allocation is validated by the EU, the project support modality involves formulating a Project Document, including specific objectives and budget lines for specific activities to be funded by the country allocation.

The Financial Benefits
The support provided through RISM is an incentive for bolstering regional integration as it helps Member States to honour their regional commitments under COMESA and EAC. It does so, through the provision of additional resources that support implementation of regional integration and trade related programmes at the level of the Member State. Though RISM does not finance the totality of transposition costs, it complements existing national resources and efforts on regional integration.

In 2012, the RISM programme was amended through a rider to provide wider support for national level implementation of COMESA and EAC regional integration commitments beyond revenue loss compensation.

How to access CAF-RISM Funds?
COMESA Fund Member States, can access RISM resources by submitting Regional Integration Implementation Programmes (RIIPs), which includes performance Indicators.

A Performance Assessment Framework (PAF), that is part of the RIIP provides for improved monitoring of transposition and implementation of regional programmes at national level. Continued support is based on the Progress Monitoring Reports (PMR), which highlight the level of achievement against set targets. The Secretariat also provides technical support to Member States during preparation of RIIPs, PAFs and RIIP Progress Monitoring Reports. 

Overall impact of CAF-RISM
The funding incentives to the Member States under RISM are already supporting regional integration, motivating the countries to: re-organize their national management, coordination, implementation and monitoring of regional integration programmes, through the establishment of National Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committees.

RISM achievements are showcased by the nine (9) Member States that received support in 2012 and achieved an average of 80% of their targets. RISM has also been instrumental in communicating challenges in the regional integration process through the strengthened technical ties between Member States and the Secretariat. The robust interactions with the Member States and the European Union that are inherent to the programme have fostered continuous refinement and enhancement of the programme. This has set RISM apart as a highly interactive, flexible, learning and adaptive programme with notable positive impacts on regional integration.

COMESA Aid for Trade Strategy
The COMESA Aid for Trade Strategy aims to support and strengthen the implementation of regional integration policies and programmes in the following ways:

  • Enhancing coordination and effectiveness within and among regional and national institutions;
  • Supporting efforts that identify and eliminate outstanding regional and national structural and capacity constraints that continually undermine the region’s ability to gain from trade liberalization opportunities;
  • Supporting the effective linking of regional policy decisions, regulations and programmes with national implementation modalities in the Member States,
  • Fostering enhanced domestication of the regional macro-economic and trade liberalization programmes of COMESA;
  • Augmenting resource mobilisation, utilization and tracking mechanisms based on trade liberalization, trade facilitation and economic adjustment priorities of COMESA;
  • Supporting the strengthening of capacities to monitor and report on progress and to apply corrective measures during the implementation of COMESA programmes.

COMESA-Aid for Trade Unit (COMAid)
The COMESA Aid for Trade Unit (COMAid), was established by Council Decision in May 2007, in order to coordinate and implement the COMESA Aid for Trade Strategy. The COMAid unit cuts across a wide range of platforms and is instrumental for many of the key programmes of the COMESA Aid for Trade Strategy.

The COMAid Unit works with the relevant operational divisions within the Secretariat, and primarily builds on on-going programmes and activities, to ensure proper co-ordination and the achievement of the objectives of the regional Aid for Trade strategy. Due to the important operational and co-ordination role, the COMAid Unit is attached directly to the office of the Assistant Secretary-General (Programmes), operating under the overall supervision of the Secretary-General.

The coordination process is enhanced through work groups between the COMAid Unit and different division/unit personnel for the achievement of Aid for Trade objectives. Due to the growing importance of Aid for Trade in the region and the need to improve information flow, the COMAid Unit will publish articles of Aid for Trade activities and programmes on the COMESA website.

RISM Fact Sheets