Formulation of Technical Cooperation Facility to support Regional Integration in COMESA

The Project at A Glance

The European Union (EU) supported COMESA in implementing and advancing regional economic integration through the Regional Indicative Support Programme (RISP). One of the proposals of the RISP was to establish a Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF) to “enhance a structural cooperation between the COMESA Secretariat and different committees and institutions in the Member States that are involved in regional integration and domestication”.
International Economics Consulting Ltd. assisted the COMESA Secretariat in drafting operational guidelines to support its member states in implementing their regional integration commitments and domesticating regional agreements. The TCF will cover the thematic areas covered by RISP, namely support progress in implementing the Customs Union, Statistics, NTBs, SPS/Standards, regional EPA negotiations, transposition/monitoring of regional integration commitments and, SMEs development/clustering.

What We Found

Evaluation reports on the RISP 1 and 2 revealed that a major obstacle for countries to implement their obligations arose from the lack of institutional coordination at the national level. Many of the structures appear to be remnants of the coordinating committees set up during the EPA negotiations, which were quite ineffective at that stage.
There is also a need for continuous training, and sensitisation of implementing institutions and legislative arms of governments (parliament and judiciary), non-state actors and the business community. Moreover, the M&E framework was also considered weak resulting in lower incentives for making changes at the national level. This is an area in which the COMESA Secretariat has invested heavily through the M&E unit and which will be addressed also by the TCF, on a small scale at the national level.

Our Strategy and Impact

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to deepening the integration and competitiveness of the COMESA region. The specific objective is to improve the implementation of COMESA Treaty Provisions and Ministerial decisions on the effective setting up of the COMESA internal market, the COMESA cluster initiative and the negotiation and implementation of the regional EPA. Three key actions have been proposed under the project namely:
1.Supporting the effective implementation of the COMESA Internal Market. This can be supported by providing specific “on-demand” national activities addressing analytical and capacity bottlenecks in the implementation of the Customs Union. Moreover, the elimination and/or resolution of non-tariff barriers, and the implementation of regional standards and SPS measures are equally important in this regard.
2.Encouraging competitiveness by addressing any bottlenecks and improving the capacity of public agencies, SMEs, and selected private companies.
3.Facilitating the conclusions of the EPA negotiations and assisting in the implementation of key provisions through targeted activities.

Our Core Solutions

With the rapid proliferation of trade agreements worldwide, there are new market and investment opportunities for countries to explore. At International Economics Consulting, based on our extensive experience in international trade, we assist our clients by providing a detailed analysis of the key impacts of new trade agreements on their operations and competitiveness through an assessment of tariff, and non-tariff barriers, provisions on rules of origin, customs efficiency, the effectiveness of transport networks, and sustainability provisions, among others.
We can help assess the opportunities in different markets, determine the feasibility and viability of projects, and benchmark the wider ecosystem to support business growth. We also support clients in navigating the policy landscape regarding international trade by establishing robust monitoring and evaluation framework through sophisticated real-time dashboards and reporting systems to ensure the best outcomes.

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