Overall programme background

Regional integration often imposes significant economic costs of adjustment, which can place constraints and challenges on Member States seeking to further their regional integration participation. Against this observation, Articles 60 and 150 of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Treaty provide for the establishment of a special Fund for Cooperation, Compensation and Development for tackling the special problems of underdeveloped areas and other disadvantages arising from COMESA’s integration process. These Treaty provisions are the foundation of the COMESA Fund Protocol, adopted in 2002.

In turn, the COMESA Fund Protocol established the COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) as one of the key instruments for tackling the special integration problems of the region.  The CAF was operationalized with funding from the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) in November 2007. This was through a Contribution Agreement of 2007 between COMESA and the European Union (EU). The total designated funding for the RISM programme was €111 million under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

Over the years, the CAF, through RISM, has been instrumental in supporting Member States in pursuit of the COMESA regional integration process. It has provided frameworks for supporting the implementation and mainstreaming of regional programmes at the national level. Equally importantly, over the years, RISM has channelled sizable financial resources to eligible COMESA Member States and systematically tracked their utilization of these resources. Since the commencement of its operations, RISM has provided key technical and financial support to 16 Member States, namely: Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

RISM was meant to build national capacities, establish key structures and systems for the domestication and implementation of regional programmes, and create sustainable momentum for regional integration in both the public and private sectors at the national level. Through its technical and financial support, it was meant to create unique impetus for ensuring that COMESA regional programmes are institutionalized and mainstreamed into governmental systems and well connected to the private sector within the 16 eligible Member States in particular.

By design, RISM is due to end at the end of 2020, marking a period of 13 years since the programme was formally established in November 2007. As COMESA approaches the dusk of the RISM programme, it is important to ask several critical questions across the 16 Member States regarding the achievements, challenges and possible future directions of travel of the programme in each country. In particular, it is important to take stock of the following:

  • How much national-level institutional capacity has been built over time, which is specifically attributable to RISM and the CAF? How much do national stakeholders know about RISM, CAF and COMESA regional integration as a result? What are the evolving attitudes of key national stakeholders towards RISM, CAF, COMESA and regional integration? How have national level institutional practices in the domestication and implementation of regional programmes changes over time during RISM?
  • What were the key strengths, achievements, successes and proud moments, etc. associated with RISM in the pursuit and implementation of COMESA regional integration? What were the main weaknesses, challenges, bottlenecks and constraints associated with RISM in the pursuit of COMESA regional integration? What were the main opportunities for regional integration under RISM? What were the main threats, risks and potential pitfalls for COMESA’s integration agenda under the CAF?
  • To what extent was RISM relevant for fostering domestication and implementation COMESA regional integration? How effective and efficient was RISM in contributing to the national-level deepening of regional integration in the COMESA region? What are the prospects that the institutional and financial resource footprints of the CAF will be sustained well into the future of COMESA?

On this basis, key stakeholders at the regional level – particularly the COMESA Member States, the COMESA Secretariat and the EU – are agreed on the importance of conducting national end-line evaluations of RISM in each of the 16 Member States where the programme has extended its reach. These Terms of Reference provide a basis for identifying and co-opting a suitable National Consultant to lead the undertaking of the national end-line evaluation of RISM in Ethiopia. It will be borne in mind that the evaluation in Ethiopia will be part of a concurrent multi-country exercise in, possibly, as many as 16 COMESA Member States.

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Post expires at 2:00pm on Friday July 24th, 2020

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