Need for Coordination of RECs- AU Activities in Regional Integration Programmes

Marrakech, Morocco, Saturday, March 23, 2019: Assistant Secretary General, Dr Kipyego Cheluget is leading a COMESA delegation to the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development taking place in Marrakech, Morocco.

The team is participating in the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) meeting. The RCM-Africa derives its mandate from UN resolution 32/197, which directed Regional Communities (ReCs) to take leadership and responsibility for enhancing cooperation and coordination of UN activities at the regional level.

The Mechanism and its four Sub-regional Coordination Mechanisms (SRCMs) covering the five sub-regions of Africa, have become the frameworks for the UN family to work together in supporting the priorities of the African Union (AU) and its organs, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other regional and sub-regional organizations.

In his address to the meeting Dr Cheluget observed:

“Taking into account the new developments both at the UN and AU Reforms, this calls for a rethink of the RCM-Africa, aim at aligning the coordination and leadership roles to the ongoing reforms, the four sub-regional mechanisms need to focus on the regional economic communities where the regional mechanism focuses on support to the AUC.”

He said there was need to strengthen the UN system-wide policy coherence, coordination and cooperation at the regional level to ‘deliver as one’ in response to identified regional priorities and initiatives of the AU, and at the REC level.

“The aim is to reduce fragmentation in their operations and increasing coherence, coordination and cooperation in their support of their programmes and priorities to the member states,” he noted adding that the current practice lacks in efficient coordination of all stakeholders.

Addressing delegates in a side event assessing the status of regional integration in Africa, Dr Cheluget said COMESA is guided by its Treaty that binds the member states to integrate practically.

He gave examples of successful COMESA trade facilitation instruments such as the Yellow Card that is now digitalized and travelers from as far afield as Europe showing interest in it.

“COMESA has robust specialized institutions many of which have expanded continentally such as the Trade and Development Bank,  ZEP-RE Reinsurance Company, African Trade Insurance Agency, CMESA Competition Commission among others,” Dr Cheluget said. “COMESA takes the role of women in regional integration very seriously as evidenced by its setting up of FEMCOM, the 50m women speak project and we are proud to have our first woman SG.”

He informed the meeting that COMESA was one of the initiators and champions of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), building on the success of its own Free Trade Area (FTA) and the Tripartite FTA.

He said: “The ACFTA, can learn from and benefit from COMESA’s tried and tested instruments such as the Rules of Origin, digital FTA among others.”

He called for rationalization of the multiplicity of efforts and organizations dealing with the free trade issues for better coherence and synergy.

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