COMESA Fund Technical Committee met on 12th May 2021 to discuss the progress made in the implementation of various projects. The meeting was attended by delegates from, Comoros, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
They noted the achievements attained through COMESA Adjustment Facility over the years, including the ongoing construction of the Manzini Trade hub in Eswatini and border export zone structures across four border markets in Uganda. This is in addition to supporting to the leather clusters in DR Congo, Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Addressing delegates at the virtual meeting, Assistant Secretary General in charge of COMESA programmes Dr Kipyego Cheluget, said the COMESA Fund was put place with support of the European Union to facilitate such a regional response and it was now opportune to review the mechanism for continued delivery on its mandate.
He said the challenges surrounding the operationalization of the Infrastructure Fund under this facility are being addressed following the decisions and amendments of the COMESA Fund Protocol. The amendments allow a clear distinction of the role of Member States under the COMESA Infrastructure Development Fund (CIDF).
“It is COMESA’s hope that given the years that have passed, and the opportunities missed, COMESA is now going forward to provide a framework that allows support at a large scale for its infrastructure development,” Dr Cheluget said adding that time was of essence to quickly position the Fund as a viable instrument.
At the same function, Chairperson of the COMESA Fund Mr. Peter Obol said that most Member States have suffered the effects of the Coronavirus and therefore, the key issue now was how to continue such support in the face of the pandemic’s impact and the need to strategically launch into the continental and global integration.
He further stated that when trying to address the development of regional infrastructure, the demand for resources remains a challenge that has to be addressed if the links that will facilitate development have to be achieved.
The deliberations of the meeting will provide technical guidance to the COMESA Fund Ministers when it meets for decision-making.