Lusaka, Monday, May 6, 2019: The 2nd joint coordination forum of COMESA and its Development Partners began today in Lusaka, Zambia. The objective of the forum is to provide a platform for regular and structured dialogue at the policy and technical levels for constructive engagement and the promotion of best practices on development cooperation matters.
The Forum is open to all Development Partners and Special Representatives accredited to COMESA.
The forum provides a platform for the COMESA Secretariat to present to the Development Partners potential project proposals and priority areas that require funding.
About 64% of the COMESA Development Budget is financed by Development Partners with the European Union taking the lead. Under the current multiannual financial framework of the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF 11) covering the period 2014 – 2020, the EU has allocated 85 million Euros to COMESA. This is part of its regional cooperation programmes to address four key areas: trade facilitation; small scale cross border trade, regional value chains development and capacity building.
The Forum also provides the Development Partners the opportunity to share information on the national programmes they are implementing in the COMESA Member States.
“This Forum will enable us to share our experiences, learn from each other as well as agree on the modalities of harmonizing future interventions and implementation of integration programmes,” Secretary General of COMESA Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe said at the opening of event.
“The benefits from such joint discussions, she said, will enable us to maximize the synergies, ensure elimination of duplications and promote complementarities among the various players.”
The other objective of the Forum is to ensure synergy and complementarity of development assistance provided at the national, regional as well as continental levels taking into account the new developments at the continental level.
“We want to ensure alignment, harmonization and streamlining of operational procedures, rules and other practices in the delivery of development assistance to COMESA, taking into account local conditions, rules and regulations,” the Secretary General said.
Speaking on behalf of the development partners, the EU Head of Cooperation Mr. Gianluca Azzoni, commended COMESA for bringing together cooperating partners for a ‘hands-on’ constructive exchange. He said good progress has been made in the implementation of the resources provided to COMESA.
“We have signed contribution agreements with COMESA for trade facilitation and small scale cross border traders for 68 million euros and a third contribution agreement for the regional value chain project will be signed this year,” he said. “The formulation of a COMESA capacity building project is well advanced and is expected to be completed this year.”
The event builds on the foundation of the 1st Joint COMESA – Development Partners Consultative Forum that took place in Lusaka in November 2016.