Lusaka, May 23, 2020: The Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM), which is implemented through the COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) is approaching the end of its lifecycle later this year and has begun taking stock of the current and remaining activities.
On Thursday, May 21, 2020, countries benefiting from the project participated in a consultative virtual meeting to share experiences of implementing the various national programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic including activities, workplans and time frames.
The meeting also discussed the negative impact and challenges that Covid-19 has had on implementation of the RISM project. Most activities have had to be put on hold despite the tight time frame remaining for the completion and eventual closure of the project at both national and regional levels.
The CAF/RISM was operationalized in November 2007 through a Contribution Agreement between COMESA and the European Union. The total designated funding for the programme was €111 million under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
Over the years, it 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. This is by building national capacities, establishing key structures and systems for the domestication and implementation of regional programmes, and creating sustainable momentum for integration in both the public and private sectors.
Over the years, RISM has channeled financial resources to 16 eligible COMESA Member States and systematically tracked their utilization. These are: Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Speaking when he opened the meeting, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Programmes Dr Kipyego Cheluget commended the Member States for their commitment and the European Union for its financial support amounting to over Euros 90 million.
“We commend the European Union for taking a chance and believing in our political commitment,” Dr Cheluget said. “The programme has helped improve regional integration and economic activity through institutional capacity building and support on productive capacities to the region’s growing private sector.”