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August 24 - 30, 2012

 

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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Africa trade blocs calls for
further regional integration 

delegates from more than 20 countries of E.S.A.-I.O.
region agree to strengthen coordination and alignment
between national and regional programming

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NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Africa’s trading blocs have ended their two-day meeting in Nairobi with a call for political commitment to regional integration at the national should trickle down to the lower levels.

The consultative meeting of regional organizations and member states from the Eastern and Southern Africa – Indian Ocean Region also called for the efforts by the recipient countries to improve their capacity to utilise the development funds.

"The delegates further identified the need to strengthen the role of regional organizations and the services they provide towards their Member States in implementing regional commitments," the organizations said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi on Sunday.

The delegates drawn from government ministries in charge of regional integration and cooperation of the ACP Member States of COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC as well as their chief executives concluded that regional integration is broad, ambitious, complex and a long term process that requires a long term commitment.

They appealed for broader consultation and participation of the full spectrum of stakeholders, including the private sector and non-state actors in all regional integration processes to enhance ownership and sustain political will at national level.

Delegates from member countries came up with the financial procedures they have recommended when the conference ended.

They said the implementation of the harmonised financial procedures will be overseen by the Inter Regional Coordinating Committee (IRCC), the joint secretariat formed by member countries to oversee implementation of joint projects.

The formation of a joint body to coordinate the utilisation of aid money for regional projects is also expected to attract more donors to this region because of improved utilisation of the aid money.

They participants noted that infrastructure development can be boosted through leveraging and blending of pooled regional resources with those from international cooperating partners.

"In addition, the delegates sought that Inter Regional Coordination Committee (IRCC) be broadened to attract other cooperating partners and international financing institutions, public and private, with an emphasis on additional resources to leverage and/or blend with grants from European Development Fund (EDF), targeting financing for regional infrastructure development, " the statement said.

The delegates from more than 20 countries of ESA-IO region agreed to strengthen coordination and alignment between national and regional programming, through information-sharing, joint planning, implementation and review.

They also committed themselves to develop guidelines for joint planning, implementation and review, through the facilitation of the IRCC, to ensure effective coordination and collaboration.

Created in 2001, IRCC brings together 4 African regional organizations, namely the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) alongside the European Union (EU) in order to enhance the aid delivery to the regions under the European Development Fund (EDF).

The meeting expected attracted over 20 Member States from the four Regional Organizations will reflect on the lessons learned from the two previous EDF programming cycles and seek best ways of programming the 11th EDF at both national and regional levels with an emphasis on effective implementation of regional commitments to further underpin the regional integration processes in this region.

The revised ACP EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement now allows for the leveraging and blending of EDF funds, in particular for infrastructure programmes.

This is expected to improve the way regional programmes are formulated and implemented in the 11th EDF, which will run between 2014 and 2020.

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