Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EU Appoints new Permanent Representative to COMESA

The European Union Commission has appointed Ambassador Gilles Hervio as Head of Delegation in Zambia, and special Representative to COMESA to replace Dr Derek Fee who left last December.

Ambassador Hervio, a French national, presented his credentials to COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya on Thursday 10th February 2011, at COMESA Secretariat, Lusaka, Zambia.

Before his appointment as Ambassador to Zambia, he served for four years as EU Ambassador to Senegal, Cape Verde and the Gambia with residence in Dakar, Senegal.

Speaking at the ceremony Mr Hervio,called for strong and close partnership between the Commission and COMESA to further enhance regional integration.He added that the EU has been supporting COMESA in many areas in order to promote not only . He retaliated his wish for the partnership to be cemented between COMESA and the EU.

“I just hope and wish that our relationship should become ever stronger than it has been in the past,” Hervio Said.

He further said that on behalf of the High Representative, Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, he was looking forward to the privilege of representing the interests and values of the entire EU and contributes to the deepening of EU/COMESA relations.

Mr Hervio pointed out that EU is engaged in supporting regional integration as reflected in EU’s regional support programme which covers COMESA, EAC, IOC, and IGAD. This programme supports the agreed integration strategies of the region.

The Funding under the European Development Fund (EDF) amounts to 645 million Euros between 2008 and 2013.

Speaking at the same function the COMESA Secretary General. Sindiso Ngwenya, welcomed and congratulated Ambassador Gilles Hervio on his new appointment as Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Zambia and Special Representative to COMESA. He took the opportunity to extend his best wishes towards his new responsibilities.

Mr Ngwenya noted that EU remains the lead cooperating partner to COMESA and all the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

Mr. Ngwenya recalled that since 2002, COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC decided to collaborate and coordinate their efforts, through the Inter-Regional Coordinating Committee (IRCC) in the programming and implementation of regional programmes and projects under the European Development Fund (EDF), with a view to improve coordination in the implementation of regional integration programmes, in order to avoid the duplication of activities.

Under the 9th EDF, COMESA was allocated a total amount of Euro 78 millions. Out of this amount Euro 32 millions have financed the implementation of the Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP) through a Contribution Agreement signed between the EC and COMESA.

The programme was jointly implemented by COMESA and the East African Community Customs Union(EAC) and it contributed Euro 8 millions to the implementation of the EAC Customs Union. The 9th EDF has enabled COMESA to achieve very important steps in its integration agenda and enormous progress regarding regional trade and economic development.

Secretary General Ngwenya welcomed EU new approach of engaging RECs in political dialogue “ the 2nd Revision of the Cotonou Agreement, concluded last year, has introduced the formalisation of the Political Dialogue under Article 8 with Regional Organisations”. “Traditionally, the EU held Political Dialogue specified under the Cotonou Agreement only at the country level. We therefore welcome the opening-up to include regional organisations” pointed out Mr Ngwenya.

He added that COMESA is the in-coming 2011/2012 Chair of the Inter regional Coordinating Committee (IRCC) and promissed that during his tenure as Chairman, he intends to collectively with other RECs, including the ACP Secretariat and the African Union Commission, both who are observer members of the IRCC, to come –up with Guidelines for Political Dialogue between the EU on the one hand, and COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC, on the other. “ As such, we are currently exploring the use of regional political economy analytical tools, with a view to establish best practices that could be applied to other regional blocks as well’ concluded Mr Ngwenya.