COMESA-UNDP Dialogue deepens partnership for regional integration and socio-economic transformation
April 5, 2023
Lusaka, 5 April 2023 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today unveiled a roadmap for a strategic partnership aimed at formulating new areas for joint engagement and programming.
The roadmap considers innovation, adaptability and sustained regional leadership to address Africa’s development challenges, which have remained significant despite increased and proactive regional and national responses implemented over the last two decades.
The COMESA-UNDP Partnership Dialogue, themed ‘Enhancing COMESA-UNDP synergy for regional integration and promoting socio-economic opportunities in the borderlands of east and southern Africa’, took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 4-5 April 2023.
African governments and inter-governmental institutions, such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs)/Regional Mechanisms (RMs) such as COMESA, are critical for the deployment of enhanced technical and programmatic interventions at continental and sub-regional levels.
Speaking at the opening session, Guest of Honour and Secretary General of COMESA, Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe, stressed the importance of regional integration for the successful realization of the region’s aspirations for sustainable and inclusive growth and development. Ms. Kapwepwe noted that COMESA’s concrete initiatives on trade integration focus on gender equality and youth, democracy and governance, small-scale cross-border trade initiatives, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction and development initiatives.
These activities have been facilitated through various partnerships both at the regional and international level to address the thematic issues “that are critical in the attainment of regional peace and security, and which include transnational organized crimes, youth empowerment, children affected by armed conflict and climate security. These partnerships have been key as they have aided in leveraging of resources and building on existing comparative advantages,” she added.
Through our collaboration, UNDP and COMESA will strive towards building resilient economies that can withstand shocks, promote sustainable development, empower women and youth, and improve the livelihoods of the people in the region. This includes promoting job creation, developing infrastructure, and investing in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.Lionel Laurens, UNDP Zambia Resident Representative
The two-day dialogue intended to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations and identify opportunities to work towards common goals in the areas of economic development, investment, peace and security, environmental sustainability and cross-border cooperation in the region. The partnership dialogue was also a step forward to ensure strengthened collaboration and partnership in achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The new partnership between UNDP and COMESA is aimed at fostering regional peace and security and promoting regional trade and integration through the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). These efforts will be critical to establishing a stable and peaceful environment, one that is conducive to economic growth and development.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. Lionel Laurens, UNDP Zambia Resident Representative, emphasized the importance of creating opportunities for businesses and individuals, particularly women and youth, to unlock the region’s full potential and create a more prosperous future for all.
“Through our collaboration, UNDP and COMESA will strive towards building resilient economies that can withstand shocks, promote sustainable development, empower women and youth, and improve the livelihoods of the people in the region. This includes promoting job creation, developing infrastructure, and investing in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.”
Participants at the dialogue also explored ways to support Africa’s borderland communities through initiatives such as UNDP’s Africa Borderlands Centre and COMESA's Trade for Peace programme. In 2022, UNDP successfully piloted an initiative with Informal Cross-Border Traders in Livingstone aimed at improving the way informal traders conduct business. Participants emphasized the importance of focusing future efforts in borderland communities on three enablers – strategic innovation, digitalization and targeted development financing.
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UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with its broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, UNDP helps nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a regional economic community established in 1994. It brings together 21 African Member States: Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe into a cooperative framework for sustainable economic growth and prosperity through regional integration.
Learn more at: www.comesa.int/
Or follow at: @comesa_lusaka on Twitter and on Facebook: facebook.com/COMESA/
For more information, contact:
UNDP: Michelle Mendi Muita, Regional Programme Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
COMESA: Muzinge N. Chibomba, Communications Officer, email@example.com
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