The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a grant of US$ 7.5 million to finance the Tripartite Capacity Building Programme (TCBP) for three regional economic communities — COMESA, EAC and SADC.
The bank said in a statement, received Friday by PANA, that the programme would provide technical assistance to the three regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the 26 Tripartite Regional Member-Countries (RMCs) with a view to increasing intra-Tripartite trade.
It said that the programme would also enhance the Tripartite negotiation process, develop trade facilitation instruments and industrial cluster action plans in the Tripartite free trade area (TFTA).
Some of the expected outputs of the programme include: (i) installation of software for Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) databases and enhancing capacity to manage sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade (SPS/TBTs); (ii) improved capacity to negotiate market access and undertake implementation; and (iii) strengthened capacity to effectively develop industrial clusters and value chains.
According to the statement, the direct programme beneficiaries are the Tripartite RECs — the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Tripartite RMCs and the Tripartite Business Councils.
The rationale for the programme is to support intra-Tripartite trade growth which is instrumental to boosting the economic welfare of over 587 million consumers in the 26 Tripartite countries through the removal of barriers to movement of goods and services, development of regional value chains, job creation and poverty alleviation thereby facilitating the realization of inclusive growth.
The programme, the statement said, is also justified in view of the developmental approach to regional integration adopted by the second Tripartite Summit held in 2012, which is anchored on the three pillars namely: market integration, infrastructure and industrial development.
The infrastructure pillar of the Tripartite arrangement is being supported by other development partners as well as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
This leaves a gap for the provision of support under the other two pillars of market integration and industrial development – where the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has so far been providing administrative, technical and financial support to the Tripartite process through Trademark Southern Africa (TMSA) and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).
Additional resources and technical support are required to complement DFID in implementing the Tripartite work programmes and decisions of the Tripartite Task Force.
The proposed interventions are anchored in the Bank’s Strategy 2013-2022 and will complement the implementation of the Regional Integration Strategy Papers for East and Southern Africa.
The programme will contribute to institutional development and knowledge building in the Tripartite region, particularly in the areas of trade policy analysis, industrial transformation, mutual recognition and equivalence of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary standards as well as Tripartite industrial capacity development.
Knowledge production and dissemination will be realized through skills training of both public and private sector officials, advisors and consultants to beneficiary Regional Economic communities. These will be supplemented by regional courses and workshops.
The programme will be implemented from 2013 to 2016.