By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE COMESA has conducted the 3rd Joint Development Partners’ Coordination Forum which seeks to deepen engagement and commitment from the development partners and understand the sectors they focus on.
The forum was driven by the need to share COMESA’s experiences and challenges faced while implementing the regional integration agenda.
This will enable the partners to better understand how COMESA works, how thematic policy issues are addressed and how the programmes could be better supported.
The two days forum seeks to deepen engagement and commitment from the development partners and understand the sectors they focus on.
It is also aimed at ensuring coherence in all programmes supported by development partners and to establish stronger links. It will also enable experience-sharing, promote inter-donor transparency and facilitate cooperation.
COMESA Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe, appreciated the continued support, both financial and technical assistance that development partners have provided amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Ms Kapwepwe stated that the post Covid-19 crisis demands even stronger collective effort to tackle the challenges posed by a changed environment.
She was speaking at the opening of the meeting held virtually.
“At a time when economic uncertainty reigns in most parts of the world and many national budgets are affected by the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are grateful for your continued support and trust placed in COMESA, and in the work that we do,” she said.
European Union Head of Cooperation, Arnaud Borchard, urged COMESA to be innovative and introduce regional programmes that will be able to respond to the current new normal of living with Covid-19.
Mr Borchard called for enhanced creativity and innovation by the regional economic community, by coming up with programmes that are resilient.
He said: “COMESA cannot afford to wait for the pandemic to clear but should instead develop ways and processes that will enhance regional integration despite existing challenges.”
During the pandemic, COMESA has developed and has been implementing the Covid-19 guidelines and an on-line platform for exchange of information on the availability of essential medical supplies and other goods