COMESA Information Technology and Telecommunications (ICT) (27/03/2012)
COMESA aims at promoting the use and awareness of Information Technology to lead to the Information Society and to contribute to socio-economic integration. COMESA also assists Member States to improve and modernise their Customs Administrations using ICT to facilitate trade. COMESA 2011 Theme is 'Harnessing Science and technology for Development'.
EC support to COMESA ICT
Under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), the European Union contributed EUR 21 million to the Regional Information and Communication Technologies Support Programme (RICTSP). The objective of the RICTSP was to contribute to the region's integration process though an effective and efficient ICT environment to reduce the costs of doing business, provide new opportunities for economic activities, and to reduce the digital divide. The programme started in 2004 and ended in 2009. A final evaluation was carried out in 2011. While the programme implementation faced challenges, some successes were identified: RICTSP had positive outcomes regarding preparations for e-readiness measurement and for support to the process of formulating ICT policies in the region. In addition, the Automated System for Customs Data and Management (ASYCUDA) component allowed the installation of customs clearance systems, which contribute to reduced costs of road transportation in the whole COMESA region.
Under the 10th EDF, support to ICT is continued under the Regional Integration Support programme (RISP II) to mainstream Science and Technology in all COMESA programmes. Support is given to Member States for the maintenance and upgrade of the ASYCUDA system. Furthermore, COMESA is preparing various regional strategies and policies in the sector (cyber security, mobile, roaming, broadcasting policy, postal strategy...).