Amidst the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the implementation of the COMESA regional integration programmes has picked pace, with a notable consistent budget absorption under Member States funding on operational expenditures.
According to a recent performance update by the COMESA Secretariat, there has been an upward trajectory in programme activities in the second quarter of the year as restrictions on movement of people in the region eases. These have been made possible through the adoption and application of information, communication technologies, which have built the organization’s resilience to implement its programmes.
“At the Secretariat, we continue to harness the power of ICT through teleworking to deliver on our mandate while safeguarding the health of our staff amid the current third wave of the COVID-19,” the COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said during the recent administrative and budget committee meeting.
She attributed the regions’ resilience to some of the measures put forward by the relevant authorities at national level and through the enforcement of regulations developed by the Secretariat, aimed at facilitating safe cross border trade in goods and services.
COMESA has convened more than 10 meetings in the first half of the year, that brought together technical experts and ministers from various sectors including trade, industry, agriculture, energy, transport, ICT among others. The ministerial decisions informs the implementation of programmes at the regional and national level.
On the other hand, COMESA Cooperating partners have continued to honour their obligations and have extended most projects timeframes to allow the programmes to improve their budget absorptions. The Secretariat has also continued to innovate modalities of implementing programme to increase budget absorption during these extended project timeframes.
Major development partners such as the European Union have allowed the Secretariat to administer their funds using the internal systems and structures after having assessed and found them satisfactory.