COMESA and the European Union have signed a EUR 7.6 million Financing Agreement for the COMESA Institutional Capacity Building Programme.
Secretary-General Chileshe Kapwepwe co-signed the Agreement with the Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia who is also the Special Representative to COMESA, Mr. Jacek Jankowski on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 at the COMESA Secretariat.
The objective of the programme is to deepen regional integration in the COMESA region, and to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the COMESA Secretariat in the implementation of regional cooperation projects and engagement with its Member States.
The programme will support COMESA in the domestication and implementation of regional commitments at Member States level. It will further facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue on regional economic integration, in the Tripartite framework of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
In addition, the COMESA Institutional Capacity Building Programme will increase the coordination, management (operational and financial), implementation and procurement capacity of the Secretariat and enhance the production and dissemination of harmonised and gender responsive regional statistics. The programme will also address organizational challenges and constraints, aiming at more effectiveness and efficiency of the Secretariat’s operations.
The COMESA Institutional Capacity Building Programme has four key result areas which includes improved monitoring and evaluation capacities for implementation of regional commitments at regional and national level, including gender mainstreaming, improved COMESA financial, audit and internal control systems and processes in line with international standards and with the recommendations expected from the anticipated 9 pillar assessment and strengthened ability to produce and disseminate regional statistics in line with the COMESA Statistics Strategy ensuring harmonisation and gender responsiveness.
The fourth result is about strengthened partnership, dialogue and communication on COMESA regional integration policies between the COMESA Secretariat and other COMESA institutions, COMESA Member States, key public and private stakeholders, as well as with the EU and its Member States.
In her statement, Secretary-General Kapwepwe described the programme as key and it would provide the necessary backing to achieve the set goals for the good of the Member States who remain the target beneficiaries. “This is an important and timely programme for us as a region, and it will help us strategize our priorities clearly and create public awareness with a view to mobilize resources where the gaps are,” she said.
Ambassador Jankowski stated that the programme “provides an opportunity for the COMESA Secretariat and its member states to enhance their capacities in order to achieve the key milestones set under COMESA’s Medium Term Strategic Plan and to effectively implement regional commitments at national level.” He further emphasized that COMESA’s contribution is even more critical during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected trans-border trade and market access among member states in the region.
The COMESA Institutional Capacity Building Programme is financed through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). It is in line with the EU and COMESA policies to enhance the capacity of both, the COMESA Secretariat as well as COMESA member states, including the private sector, to deepen regional integration. The programme will be implemented over a duration of five years.