The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has given Kenya financial support mobilised through the Regional Integration Support Mechanism Programme (RISM) for development projects. Head of Cooperation Delegation of the European Union to Kenya Mr Erik Habers said RISM provides significant financial resources (111.4 million euros) to support both the technical capacities of the COMESA Secretariat, and the efforts of COMESA member states’ to domesticate key regional commitments.
Mr Habers said resources are channelled through the COMESA Adjustment Fund after a rigorous analysis by the Secretariat and peer review of commitments at national level and monitoring of progress. “For countries that have succeeded to implement a minimum of their commitments, financial support is then disbursed either as budget support tranches or to finance specific projects,” he said.
Mr Habers made the remarks at the National Treasury, Nairobi during the signing ceremony of the grant agreement of Kenya’s RISM allocation (EUR 1.88 million) in the presence of the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr Henry Rotich and COMESA Secretary General Mr Sindiso Ngwenya.
He said Kenya had also received 2.4 million Euros from the RISM programme which was disbursed as budget support following the approval in 2013 of its Regional Integrated Implementation Plan (RIIP). The head of European delegation commended Mr Ngwenya for continued commitment in spearheading COMESA ongoing negotiations towards the creation of a Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) in the region.
Mr Habers said: “Upon conclusion of COMESA tripartite free trade area, this will lay a solid foundation for the realisation of a continental FTA while addressing the complex challenges of overlapping membership of regional organsation.”
He said European Union will support infrastructure investment for regional integration communities in East and Southern Africa under the new EU Regional Indicative Programme worth 600 million Euros in grants. Port of Mombasa and the corridor to South Sudan, Mr Habers pointed out, will benefit from the EU infrastructure investment funds.
He said import trade facilitation and customs management reforms are being implemented in Kenya to create more one-stop border posts at key border points and to implement coordinated border management systems. Mr Habers added that the EU had financed main trunk roads to the border points, notably to Uganda and more recently to Ethiopia.
The EU as a Nobel peace prize laureate in 2012, he said, was credited for promoting economic prosperity as a precursor for peace and stability, and regional integration. He praised Kenya and COMESA Secretariat for their joint leadership and efforts in the promotion of regional integration, adding that the EU will fully support all initiatives supporting integration efforts.