THE European Union (EU) yesterday signed a €4,485 million technical co-operation facility to support implementation of regional integration programmes for the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and India Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
The agreement was signed by the Head of the European Delegation to Zambia and special representative to the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Ambassador Alessandro Mariani and Comesa secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya.
The funds would be shared among five regional economic communities – Comesa (€1,525m), Southern African Development Community (€1,615m), East African Community (€1,525m), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (€1,435m) and the Indian Ocean Commission (€900 000).
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lusaka, Ngwenya said: “It is not an understatement that without the support of the EU, the achievements made by Comesa in regional integration would have been less than optimal. Comesa already has a framework to ensure that we deliver time-bound results and demonstrate value for money for the facility.”
Mariani said the funds would provide support for the studies sector, surveys, stakeholder consultations, communication, monitoring activities in various development areas such as trade integration, maritime security, wildlife and others. The funds are part of an overall of €1,3 billion provided by the EU under the 11th European Development Fund Regional Indicative programme for the EA-SA-IO region signed in June 2015 for the period 2014 to 2020.
Of this amount, €600m would be used for blending and leveraging of funds to enable implementation of regional infrastructure projects, €205m for selected cross-regional actions and €450m for specific envelopes of the regional bodies.