On 20 November, the European Union and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have officially launched in Lusaka the Trade Facilitation Regional Programme worth EUR 48.3 million (approx. Kwacha 655 million). This initiative aims at increasing intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services and reducing the costs of imports/exports.
As indicated by the EU Representative to COMESA, H.E. Alessandro Mariani, “this EU-COMESA Trade Facilitation Programme is of utmost importance and will greatly contribute to the implementation of the New Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs”. Recognising COMESA's role as a driving force of regional economic integration, Ambassador Mariani stated that “we will be able to reduce the time and costs of intra-regional trade and contribute to regional economic integration, which will in turn improve the business climate in the region and attract more private investors.”
The Secretary General of COMESA, Ms Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, acknowledged the importance of this programme for “deepening regional integration, improving inclusive regional economic growth and enhancing competitiveness of the COMESA region”.
All the speakers agreed on the need to move to a smooth implementation, also by closely involving and coordinating with COMESA Member States who have the final responsibility for the domestication of the regional policies and programmes.
Present to the ceremony to mark the importance of the trade facilitation programme for the EU Member States were the Ambassadors of Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.
See full speech of EU Representative to COMESA -> https://www.goo.gl/fUeVhT