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Monday, 07 March 2016

EU-SADC: US$1,7 billion boost for regional integration

The 15-member SADC regional economic bloc is set to receive €1,6 billion (US$1,7 billion) from the European Union to accelerate the implementation of regional integration programmes and projects. This emerged after the EU signed a €4 485 million euros (US$4 948 million) technical co-operation facility with Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) recently in Zambia to support implementation of regional integration programmes for the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and India Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region. Head of the European delegation to Zambia and special representative to Comesa Ambassador Alessandro Mariani and Comesa secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya signed the agreement. The €4 485 million would be shared among five regional economic communities — Comesa (€1,525 million), Southern African Development Community (€1,615 million), East African Community (€1,525 million), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (€1,435 million) and the Indian Ocean Commission (€900 000). “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,” said Ngwenya, the head of Comesa at the signing ceremony. 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 (EDF) programme for the EA-SA-IO region signed in June 2015 for the period 2014 to 2020.

Source: The Southern Times