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Comesa bloc grants $6m to Burundi

Daily Nation. Kenya

Comesa bloc grants $6m to Burundi

By Nation Correspondent

13 September 2009

LUSAKA, Zambia. Burundi has received euro 4.4 million (US$6.4 million) grant from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) under the adjustment facility.

Burundi, one of the 19 member states of the regional economic bloc, is the first beneficiary of the COMESA adjustment facility.

According to a media statement issued by the COMESA secretariat in Lusaka, Comesa secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya presented the euro 4.4 million cheque to Clotilde Nizigama, Burundi’s minister of finance in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura on Friday.

According to COMESA, the euro 4.4 million was a grant to Burundi meant to assist the country integrate into COMESA and the East African Community (EAC).

“Burundi has provided a programme for implementation of commitments which includes the elimination of non tariff barriers; support to the COMESA Common Investment Area; and fiscal and monetary harmonization,” said Mr Ngwenya.

According to COMESA, Ms Nizigama said the euro 4.4 million was only 65 per cent of the funds that Burundi expects to get and that data required collection with the view to get the remaining 35 per cent is on an advanced stage.

In 2000, when COMESA launched the Free Trade Area (FTA) it was envisaged that the progress towards achieving the level of integration desired in the region would entail adjustments by governments. Therefore, the COMESA secretariat formulated programmes to support its member countries in this process.

As a result, COMESA created the COMESA fund, with two windows, one of which being the adjustment facility.

“We went through a rigorous process which entailed showing that COMESA is indeed an institution with the capacity and credibility to handle direct provision of such support to its member states through its own mechanism,” said Mr Ngwenya.

Other COMESA member states include host Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.