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Khartoum, Sunday, September 4, 2016: Sudan will receive  2.9 million Euros from the COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) between 2016 and 2017 following the signing of a grant agreement with COMESA. This is an addition to a similar facility of 1.2 million Euros signed in May last year. The funds are provided by the European Union under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF) to support implementation of regional integration programmes in the country.

The Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed the agreement which will enable the release of the funds. This follows the fulfillment of the grant requirements by Sudan of paying  its outstanding contributions to the COMESA Fund.

The facility will focus on harnessing the export potential of the Sudan and facilitating the building of capacities to effectively implement and monitor COMESA’s regional programmes.

“The project particularly aims to strengthen capacities of national and private institutions to achieve regional Integration in enhancing livestock and leather sector value chain, Implementing and monitoring the regional commitments by the National inter-ministerial Coordinating committee, enhancing capacities of the Sudanese Business and Employers Federation to meet export requirements“, Ngwenya said.

The project shall also help enhance trade facilitation and support services in various sectors; and provide support the private sector in food safety management and traceability systems.

The Minister thanked COMESA for the support adding that the country stands ready to move the integration agenda forward especially that the establishment of a facility like the Leather Design Studio (LDS the first of its kind in Africa shall create jobs for the people.

“We are pleased with this gesture because we know that it will help not only the government but all those involved in the leather value chain and we know that a lot of people shall benefit from this venture,” Dr. Ali said.

Leather Design Studio

Mr Ngwenya urged Sudan to take advantage of the new Leather Design Studio initiative, to accelerate value addition to the abundant livestock industry in Sudan and the region.

“Through the support of the COMESA Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI), the RDS project will contribute to the establishment of the Leather City in ElGaily Industrial Area, Khartoum and facilitate the implementation of the Sudan Leather Value chain strategy,” the Secretary General said.

He said this will be attained through the strengthening of the Kerari Vocational Training Center which is envisaged to become a Satellite Design Studio for the COMESA region. The Studio will help provide artisanal skills and design training for the production of high-end leather goods. This will improve market entry of the region’s leather products into global markets.

COMESA has supported Sudan and Egypt to increase their trade in Beef and Citrus since 2015 through a project dubbed: “Breaking Barriers to Facilitate Trade”. The project is implemented through a sub agreement with CABI-Africa to facilitate both countries assess the trading costs associated with Sanitary and Physto-sanitary (SPS) measures and bottlenecks along key trade routes/borders. The aim is to jointly explore alternative options to reduce overall trading costs without compromising the health status of either country.

The Secretary General urged Sudan to ensure that the next project under the COMESA Adjustment Facility adequately supports interventions for fruit fly surveillance. He encouraged Sudan to respond to the 7th Call for Submission that has been launched whose deadline is 21st October 2016. This will enable it to continue receiving resources to implement programmes.

At the signing ceremony were the State Minister of Trade, Mr Elsadig Ali Hasab Elrasooul, the representative of the Head of EU Delegation in Sudan, members of the National Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee and representatives from the Private Sector and Civil Society.