Speech by Alessandro Mariani
Ambassador of the European Union
At the occasion of: the Signature of the new Financing Agreement for support to the National Authorising Officer – 10 mio EUR (this Financing Agreement also includes the Technical Cooperation Facility)
Venue: Ministry of Finance BoardRoom
Date: March 2, 10.00 – 11.30
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here today to honour the ongoing partnership between the Republic of Zambia and the European Union. The European Union has a longstanding, solid and dynamic partnership with Zambia.
I wish to highlight to your attention a very important feature of our partnership with the Government of Zambia: the support to the National Authorising Officer, or, shall I say, the NAO. In line with the Cotonou Agreement, the implementation of EU-Zambia development relations hinges upon this very important position. It is through the NAO that we have worked together to implement the European Development Fund (EDF). And now, with all of you here, it brings me great pleasure to announce our continued support to the NAO Office under the 11th EDF.
Through the 11th EDF – which runs from 2014 to 2020 – EU development cooperation will continue to support Zambia's National Development Plans. This is an important time in Zambia – just the other week the 7th National Development Plan was submitted to Cabinet for approval. This plan will be the country's roadmap for the next five years, keeping Zambia on track to achieve its vision of becoming a prosperous middle-income country by 2030, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals that have been adopted globally.
I am informed that the priority areas under the 11th EDF are aligned with the new development plan of Zambia. The National Indicative Programme under the 11th EDF, with a total envelope of 484 million euro of grants (approx. 5.0 billion Kwacha), focuses on three key sectors: Energy, Agriculture, and Governance. The National Indicative Programme has set aside 244 million euro to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. At the same time, 110 million euro has been allocated to reduce rural poverty and improve livelihoods through agricultural programmes, while reserving 100 million euro to advance democratic governance, accountability, state effectiveness and access to justice for all. The final component of the National Indicative Programme has set aside 30 million for support measures and NAO support, of which is the topic of discussion today.
You may be wondering whether the new support to the NAO is going to be similar to the one already provided in the past. Much in the same vein, institutional strengthening will remain the focus in order to contribute to efficient and effective implementation of projects and programmes funded by the European Union. However, the partnership between Zambia-EU relations is evolving beyond the usual development relations to develop into a 360 degrees partnership which encompasses political dialogue, trade relations, economic diplomacy and other areas of common interest such as climate change and outreach to the private sector. The new support to the NAO reflects these positive evolutions.
With this in mind, we foresee two main results from our continued support of the NAO. Firstly, the capacity of the Government and in particular the NAO and corresponding line ministries will be strengthened with regard to the implementation of EU funded development programs. Secondly, and flowing directly from the first result, timely and effective implementation of EU funded programmes will be accompanied by a more coherent, inclusive and informed approach to development, regional integration and trade. For the first time we also have incorporated in this agreement an envelope for funding assistance and studies in the framework of the EU-Zambia partnership. This will work as leverage for accessing funds made available by the international communities under various initiatives. For instance it can be used to finance pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to develop bankable projects to be submitted to financing institutions or to finance studies to develop projects to be submitted to trust funds and other international funds (e.g.: in the area of climate change).
In the years to come I anticipate a further deepening of Zambia and EU relations and we want to be ready for that at technical level.
Thank you for your attention, Zikomo Kwambiri.