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Lusaka, Monday August 8, 2016: The European Union and COMESA have today signed a Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF) of 1.525 million Euros. The facility will support implementation of regional integration programmes including coordination, dialogue between COMESA and its Member States and communication and visibility.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Zambia and Special Representative to COMESA Mr. Alessandro Mariani and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed for their respective organization.

The resources allocated to the TCF are part of the Euro 4.485 million financing agreement signed in February 2016 between the European Commission and COMESA.
The agreement signed today will ensure that COMESA has the capacity to undertake high-quality and inclusive design and implementation of its regional integration programmes funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF 11).

Under the EDF 11, COMESA has an allocation of 85 million Euros to facilitate the implementation of its regional integration agenda focusing on economic integration through trade facilitation and private sector development.

The facility will also enable COMESA to effectively participate in the overall coordination of the 11th EDF Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Regional Indicative Programme among the Duly Mandated Regional Organizations (DMROs) as well as between the DMROs and the European Union.
Ambassador Mariani said the TCF demonstrates the EU’s commitment to the partnership with COMESA and the overall integration agenda.

“Regional integration is a long process that needs strong commitments by all parties’ concerned and full involvement by Member States,” he said. He stressed the importance of consultation with member States and all stakeholders from the inception of the programmes to ensure ‘everyone was on board.’
Mr Ngwenya said the TCF resources will be used to improve and fine tune two action documents and advance the project identification and formulation progress for the remaining part of the COMESA sub-envelope.

“The programming of the 11th EDF COMESA sub-envelope has so far progressed very well with the submission by 30 June 2016 of two action documents for programmes on Trade Facilitation and on small scale cross-border Traders.” Mr Ngwenya said. “The two action documents account for Euro 68 million which once approved represent a commitment of 80% of the COMESA 11th EDF sub-envelope.”

He thanked the European Union for its continued support to enhance economic growth in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and Indian Ocean in general and in particular for its support to COMESA.

Mr Ngwenya noted that member States were now beginning to take ownership of regional integration programmes by allocating their own resources as opposed to only participating at the implementation stage.

“I look forward to the day when Parliamentary Committee in Members will start overseeing regional integration projects supported by development partners like they do to those funded from local resources,”. He said this will deepen ownership and accountability.