Lusaka, Wednesday 20 January 2021: COMESA Secretariat has awarded 18 scholarships worth USD 50,100 to COMESA citizens who are students admitted to ursue a Master’s egree Programme in Regional Integration at Kenyatta University of Kenya and University of Mauritius.
This sponsorship has been facilitated through support from the European Union and the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) under the TradeCom II Capacity Building programme. In 2010, the 28th COMESA Council of Ministers meeting decided to establish a professional or graduate school on Regional Integration to foster cooperation in research and development in the COMESA region in line with Articles 127 and 128 of the Treaty.
Following this decision, COMESA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with participating Universities to offer training and undertake conventional researches as tools for analyzing impacts and supporting innovations to address development challenges in the region.
According to trade experts at COMESA Secretariat, the two-year Masters of Regional Integration programme is a unique multi-disciplinary professional course designed to build the capacity of public sector officials working on trade, economic integration and international cooperation issues. In addition, the programme is relevant to private sector stakeholders, including private firms/organizations, media practitioners; chambers of commerce, manufacturer and consumer associations. The programme is hosted by Kenyatta University and is to be offered in collaboration with 21 other universities in COMESA Member States. So far, COMESA has signed a memorandum of understanding with 6 universities, including Kenyatta University (Kenya), University of Mauritius (Mauritius), Open University of Mauritius (Mauritius), ISGE (Burundi), University of Zambia and University of Zimbabwe.
The programme offers tailor-made courses best suited to provide sound conceptual, policy and practical training to foster all areas of integration in COMESA, including economic, social and political integration. By expanding the pool of experts, the programme is expected to address capacity constraints and strengthen implementation of various commitments, including legal, economic, social and political areas in Member States. Commencement of this programme could not have taken place at a better time than when Member States are engaged in multiple negotiations e.g. the Tripartite Free Trade Area, the African Continental Free Trade Area, Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union and other bilateral agreements, all of which require high technical skills and evidence based analysis.
Based on the Scholarship Award Criteria, Kenyatta University received 13 scholarships in these inaugural scholarships, whereas the University of Mauritius received 5 out of a total of 30 students who have commenced learning under the programme. The students undertaking the virtual studies in the two universities hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, as well as Ghana and South Africa.