UNDP, COMESA collaborate to build resilient economies, sustainable development


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is collaborating with the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to build resilient economies that can withstand shocks within the region.

This collaboration is also meant to promote sustainable development, empowering women and youth, and improving the livelihoods of the people in the region, says UNDP country Representative, Lionel Laurens.

Laurens said this included promoting job creation, developing infrastructure, and promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.

He said this at the COMESA – UNDP partnership dialogue on Tuesday in Lusaka.

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“We have a shared vision of promoting economic growth, trade, investment, and cross-border cooperation in the region. Together, we can create opportunities for businesses and individuals to thrive, unlocking the full potential of the region and creating a more prosperous future for all,” Laurens said.

Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe.

He said one area which could also be deepened for collaboration was supporting Africa’s borderland communities.

He noted that Africa’s borderlands and their communities were a unique source of ingenuity, places of untapped opportunity and of great resilience.

“Here in Zambia, we proved this when the UNDP, thanks to the support of the regional UNDP Africa Borderlands Centre, during the past year, worked with Informal Cross Border Traders in Livingstone to pilot an innovation aimed at improving the way informal traders did their business with their Zimbabwean counterparts.

“We demonstrated the catalytic power of digitalizing the operations of informal traders, using an innovation tool that saw increased access to financial services for our small-scale traders, about 70 percent of whom were women traders,” Laurens said.

COMESA Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe, said COMESA had undertaken a multi-dimensional integration approach that focuses on trade integration, leading the process of trade liberalisation through tariff reductions and the dismantling of non-tariff barriers.

United Nations Development Programme Country Representative, Lionel Laurens.

Kapwepwe said this was done by putting in place various trade facilitation instruments to support regional trade such as the Simplified Trade Regime (STR), Rules of Origin, Yellow Card Scheme, Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (GCTG), One Stop Border Post among others.

“COMESA is also implementing the Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative Programme with financial support from the European Union which aims to increase the formalisation of informal small-scale cross border trade flows leading to higher revenue collection by governments at the borders as well as increase security and higher incomes for small cross border traders,” she said.

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