E
Under the Umbrella of the 2014-2020 11th EDF Regional Indicative Programme or the Eastern African, Southern African and Indian Ocean, a Programme aimed at reducing cost of cross-border trade through removal of internal barriers in the COMESA Region in line with Tripartite agreements, has been formulated. It identifies 5 key priority areas for support: 1. Monitoring and resolution of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs); 2. Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; 3. Coordinated Border Management and trade and transport facilitation along selected corridors and border posts; 4. Implementation of harmonised, science based Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) and Technical Standards; and 5. Support to trade negotiations/promotion (trade in services, free movement of persons and trade negotiations). It is in this context that the team of three Key Experts, mobilised by AETS, supported COMESA and the EU Delegation to Zambia/COMESA to progress further with the design of the 11th EDF Trade Facilitation programme (53 Million EUR) in preparation of the Delegation Agreement to be signed later in 2017. The specific objectives of the assignment were: 1. To review the most recent and "referential" existing literature/research/data relevant to the five priority areas of the draft Action Document in view of possible fine-tuning of the proposed activities and indicators to ensure focus on removing the most important and costly bottlenecks and constraints to trade in the region; 2. To identify the different cooperating partners’ activities in the five above priority areas (donor mapping exercise) in the COMESA/Tripartite region, with a focus in particular on regional projects/initiatives targeted at reducing costs for cross-border trade; 3. To carry out detailed needs assessments and baseline analysis at the five priority border posts and corridors identified in the draft Action Document in order to refine the planned interventions and support activities at national level. This assignment was instrumental to consult and involve the different stakeholders concerned (COMESA countries' authorities, corridors' authorities, trade/transport associations and private companies, EU national delegations) in the design process, in order to raise awareness and build progressive ownership of the future trade facilitation programme. The assignment provided an indicative list of other stakeholders at regional and member States level that might be used to implement some activities and/or components supported by EU, as well as identify risks and propose recommendations for mitigation.

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