COMESA-EAC sign implementation agreement framework under the EDF 10

COMESA The COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya and the newly appointed Secretary General of the East African Community Dr Richard Sezibera, on Saturday 14 May 2011 signed an implementation agreement under the EDF 10. The event took place at highly attended official opening of the Inter Regional Coordination Committee (IRCC) meeting, taking place at COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Implementation Agreement signed between COMESA and EAC defines the legal framework of cooperation between the two parties in the joint   implementation of the  Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP) continuation, often referred to as RISP2. The programme is financed through a contribution agreement signed between COMESA and the European Union (EU)  under the 10th EDF.

Under EDF10, COMESA , EAC, IGAD and IOC have a total envelope of euro 50 million , with 10 million of it earmarked for the North-south corridor. The amount is for the period starting from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2013.Disbursements will based on approved annual work plans.

COMESA has a contribution agreement with EU where by COMESA gets money in advance and uses its procedures to implement agreed programmes as well as for accountability purpose. COMESA is the only regional organization on the African continent with such arrangements with the EU.

The EU assistance comes mainly through the EDF RSP/RIP allocations.  The four   partner organizations (COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC)  have put in place an inter Regional Coordinating Committee (IRCC) coordination mechanism  through which they jointly  implement EC funded projects.

Taking into account that EAC, IGAD and IOC are not yet eligible for a contribution agreement, they cannot  enter into a direct contribution agreement with the European Union. Therefore under the IRCC arrangements, COMESA enters into the agreement  with EU on behalf of  all the four which  makes it easier  for them  to access EDF funding since they don’t have to go through EU procedures. These partner organization agree on legal framework on which to operate to facilitate COMESA’s accountability for the funds to EC. IGAD and IOC signed the framework in April and early May 2011 respectively.

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