Lusaka, Thursday, July 25, 2019: “The future of EU’s allocation of programmes’ financing will be determined by the rate of implementation of the current Eleventh European Development Fund programmes,” the outgoing Head of European Delegation to Zambia and COMESA Ambassador Allesandro Mariani, has said.
In his parting shot when he paid a farewell visit to COMESA Secretariat Wednesday, July 24, 2019, Amb. Mariani however noted that the joint EU-COMESA team had done an excellent job in project preparation and the focus now should be on effective implementation.
“What remains now is implementation! implementation! implementation,” Ambassador Mariani stressed.
To improve on programme performance, especially on the ongoing projects on trade facilitation and the Small-Scale Cross Border Trade, he said there will be no need to establish Project Management Units (PMU).
“A number of countries already have EDF National Offices with the requisite skills to carry out project coordination thus avoiding duplication,” he noted citing Zambia as an example.
He urged COMESA to re-launch the development partners forum and have more frequent meetings to harmonize implementation of programmes and also to keep the European Union countries engaged.
Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe thanked Amb. Mariani for deepening the COMESA – EU partnership, which made it possible to make great strides in the implementation of EU supported regional integration programmes.
She said COMESA will conduct an assessment to identify which countries have the capacity to manage the EU supported regional integration project without having to create separate PMUs.
The EU is the largest single financier for implementation of regional programmes in COMESA.
In the past one year, the EU has signed several financing agreements including a 10 million Euro programme for the Regional Enterprise Competitiveness and Access to Markets under the 11th European Development Fund. This is in addition to another 85 million Euros to implement activities under Trade Facilitation and the Small-Scale Cross Border Trade.