Monday, 2 November 2015


By MacPherson Mukuka (in Lusaka)

European Union Ambassador to Zambia ALLESANDRO MARIANI says national
ownership is central to effective integration.

Ambassador MARIANI who is also EU Special Representative to COMESA says it is important to enhance visibility and understanding amongst politicians and ordinary citizens of the regional integration process and what it entails.

Speaking when he led a team of EU delegates to present credentials to COMESA secretariat, Ambassador MARIANI says efforts should always be devoted to analyze and promote the benefits of regional economic integration and to monitor the impact of regional reforms as well as
to sensitize and raise awareness in the region.

He says the EU and COMESA have jointly prioritized regional integration in which the EU has given the region 85 Million Euros grants as the focal area for developing the partnership up to the year
2020 in line with the COMESA strategy aimed at fostering economic prosperity through regional integration.

Ambassador MARIANI has further disclosed that beyond the development assistant to be implemented through the COMESA secretariat, the close dialogue will be of key importance for the benefits that COMESA may derive from EU support to EA-SA-IO under the infrastructure financing
envelope worth 600 Million Euros and the cross regional envelope worth 250 Million Euros.

He says it is clear the regional development programme in support of EA-SA-IO will support the tripartite process- a regional integration strategy of COMESA, EAC, SADC to strengthen and deepen economic integration in southern and eastern Africa through the harmonization of policies and programmes in the area of trade customs and infrastructure development.

And COMESA Secretary General SINDISO NGWENYA the EU remains the leading cooperating partner for the implementation of COMESA’s regional integration agenda that seeks to attain sustainable economic and social transformation hinged on the growth and development of
productive capacities to support the increased export of goods and services within and outside the region.

He says COMESA has greatly benefited from the European Development Fund (EDF).

He says under the 9th EDF, COMESA received a total of 78 Million Euro, out of which 32 Million Euro financed the implementation of the regional integration support programme, and 8 Million Euro channeled towards the implementation of the East African Community Customs Union.

He said to date, 16 countries are benefiting from the facility adding that resources amounting to more than 58. 8 Million Euros have been disbursed to member states in the form of adjustments support.

Mr. NGWENYA has since disclosed that in the 11th EDF, it is expected that the EU support will help COMESA achieve reduced cost of cross border trade through removal of the internal barriers, increased private sector participation in regional and global value chains and enhanced capacity of COMESA including the private sector, to deepen regional integration.

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