COMESA, EU Dialogue on Enhancing Support

COMESA Secretariat held a dialogue meeting with representatives of the European Union to discuss the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework expected to cover a period of 3 – 7 years from 2025.

The Framework provides an opportunity for COMESA as a Regional Economic Community (REC) to access funding, capacity building and technical assistance to advance regional integration, promote sustainable development and address common challenges in collaboration with the European Union.

The one-day dialogue meeting held at COMESA Headquarters on 10 April 2024 was attended by staff from the COMESA Secretariat and from the EU delegation to Zambia and COMESA, with visiting representatives, George Dura and Camille Bing from Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTP), which is a part of the European Commission in Brussels.

Following new developments and realities, the European Union has come up with a new framework called the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), replacing the European Development Fund (EDF), as the primary financial instrument for enhancing regional integration and cooperation for sustainable economic development of the region.

Mr Matthias Reusing team leader of the European Green deal, Rural Development, Trade Sector at the EU Delegation to Zambia and COMESA led the EU team while COMESA was led by the Assistant Secretary General Administration and Finance Dr Dev Haman.

Dr Haman described the dialogue as a testament of the shared commitment to fostering sustainable growth, inclusivity and prosperity across sub-Saharan Africa.

He commended the EU for having a long history of providing financial and technical support to COMESA and Africa as a whole and increasing its current budget for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework to address development priorities and emerging challenges and opportunities.

“…addressing our regional issues, requires a collaborative, multi-faceted strategy that transcend borders. And these collaborative approaches need to be done consultatively at all levels,” he added. “It involves forging partnerships, leveraging expertise and aligning resources to achieve impactful, lasting outcomes together.”

Mr Reusing said the EU is determined to continue providing technical and financial support to the COMESA to ensure that regional integration is deepened for economic development and sustainable growth.

The meeting discussed the regional Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which falls under the NDICI. By leveraging on these new developments from the EU, RECs can enhance their capacity to drive regional development agendas to fully achieve their strategic objectives.