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Lusaka, Thursday 18, February 2016: The European Union has signed a 4.485 million euros Technical Cooperation Facility to support implementation of regional integration programmes in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and India Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Zambia and Special representative to COMESA Ambassador Alessandro Mariani and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed the agreement.

Five Regional Economic Communities; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) East African Community (EAC) Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) 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).

The funds are part of an overall kitty of 1.3 billion euros provided by the EU under the 11th Eurpean Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative programme (RIP) for the EA-SA-IO region signed in June 2015 for the period 2014 – 2020.

Out of this amount, Euro 600 million will be used for blending and leveraging of funds to enable implementation of regional infrastructure projects; Euro 205 million will be used for selected cross-regional actions and Euro 450 million are for the specific envelopes of COMESA, EAC, IGAD, IOC and SADC. COMESA is expected to receive Euro 85 million.

Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya thanked the European Union for its 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,” Mr Ngwenya said. “COMESA already has a framework to ensure that we deliver time bound results and demonstrate value for money for this facility.”

Ambassador Mariani said the TCF will be instrumental in supporting the design of new regional programmes to be funded by the European Union in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.

“Amongst 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,” he said.

“The TCF will also support policy dialogue between COMESA and the European Union, as well as coordination among the regional organizations in this region of Africa.”