Category Archives: EU

Green Energy in Focus as AU – EU Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership

Investing in off-grid solutions using renewable energies would save US$35,000 per kilometer for transmission lines, COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya told delegates attending the 10th Anniversary of the Africa – European Union Energy Partnership in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, last week.

He said that financing and business models for off-grid electrification, through green energy technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, should include the community owned mini-grid management. He proposed for further exploration of the utility-based model, private sector-led mini-grids, and also hybrid models which would try to combine different approaches.

“Energy linkages to other sectors, in particular, renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal small hydro power, etc., could be used to support public uses such as lighting and vocational teaching in schools, sterilization, refrigeration and other usages in health clinics, public water systems, and street lighting,” Mr. Ngwenya said.

“The low population density in Africa would require massive investment to increase the access to energy,” the Secretary General stated. “The productive uses of electricity in agro-industries could be significant and these benefits could be related to the expansions in output and the existence of a market for the output, as well as employment expansion.”

Mr. Ngwenya stressed the need to ensure that Africa takes the advantage of the different financing windows available such as the one trillion dollars from climate change to leapfrog to increase access to electricity.

On Africa-EU Energy Partnership Perspectives, the Secretary General indicated that over the 10 years of Africa-EU Energy Partnership, substantial progress between Africa and Europe has been realized. This range from political declarations and agreements to technical assistance and actual projects in the African countries.

The AEEP’s objective is to improve access to secure, affordable and sustainable energy for both continents, with a special focus on increasing investment in energy infrastructure in Africa. The AEEP Steering Group is comprised of the European Commission, the African Union Commission, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Egypt, Germany and Italy.

The Secretary General assured of COMESA’s willingness to continue supporting the Africa EU Energy Partnership in the development of legal and institutional frameworks for public private sector partnerships.  This he noted, would increase the private sector participation in infrastructure development and especially in the energy sector.

The African perspective on the way forward in this partnership was to pursue the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Other speakers included Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), European commission; Ambassador Sergio Mercuri, Minister Plenipotentiary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy and Mr. Cheikh Bedda, Director of Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.

The AEEP event at the EU-Africa Business Forum was attended by representatives of the private sector who are engaged in the Partnership’s work, as well as other stakeholder’s central to the achievement of the AEEP 2020 Targets. The key messages and conclusions of the AEEP event, together with those of other sessions at the EU-Africa Business Forum, will feed into the AU-EU Summit.

Christine Lagarde Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Statement by Christine Lagarde on Helmut Schmidt

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a true European, visionary economist, and global statesman.  With a disciplined mind and sheer determination, he navigated Germany through challenging times and helped make Germany what it is today: a modern country with a strong economy, firmly rooted in the European community.

“His friendship with former French president Giscard D’Estaing, which dominated the political landscape of Europe when I was a young lawyer, will always remind me of what political figures can accomplish when they work in unison, for the benefit of their countrymen. We owe them jointly the tradition of global economic summits, which proved so critical in fostering cooperation between key economic actors and maintaining a dialogue during times of crises.

“Helmut Schmidt was a wise man and a truly effective and respected leader. He will be missed.”


European Commission (EC)

EU 85m euros to support trade facilitation programmes

The European Union through has signed a total of 85 million Euros in grants for regional economic integration up to the year 2020. The funds are provided under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

EU 85m Euros

The new European Union Head of Delegation and Special Representative to COMESA, Ambassador Alessandra Mariani said the funds will mainly be used to reduce the cost of cross border trade through the removal of internal barriers. This is in line with the COMESA, East African Community and Southern Africa Development Community tripartite agreements.
Amb Mariani said this when he presented his Letter of Credence to Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya in Lusaka, Monday 2 November 2015.

He said the EU funds will increase private sector participation in regional and global value chains through improved investment/business climate and enhance competitiveness and productive capacity.

“The funds will increase private sector participation in regional and global value chains through improved investment/business climate and enhance competitiveness and productive capacity,” he said. The beneficiaries are the COMESA Secretariat and the Member States including the private sector which will also be helped to enhance their capacity to deepen regional integration.
Ambassador Mariani acknowledged the advantages derived from a solid regional integration as well as the obstacles and difficulties that may be encountered in the process.

“We are more than happy to share with you what has worked and why it has worked in our own analysis from the political and economic point of view as well as from the point of view of citizens to whom the regional integration process has always to remain relevant and beneficial.”

He added that national ownership was central to effective integration hence it was important to enhance visibility and understanding amongst politicians and ordinary citizens of the regional integration process and what this actually entails.
In his remarks, Mr Ngwenya reiterated that the EU remained the leading cooperating partner for the implementation of COMESA’s regional integration agenda.

“With support from the EU, COMESA has recorded key achievements including the expansion of the COMESA Free Trade Area leading to more countries joining the FTA,” he said.
Uganda was the latest country to join the FTA while Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo are at different levels of joining. The main beneficiaries of the TCF are Small and Medium Enterprises.


COMESA-EU Launch a Programme to Fight Piracy

20 September 2014. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the European Union Delegation in Lusaka launched a programme to promote regional maritime security by addressing the economic aspects of piracy.


This follows the signing of a grant Agreement by the Secretary General of COMESA, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya and the Ambassador and Head of the European Delegation of the European Commission to Zambia, H. E. Gilles Hervio that has extended 5.4 Million Euro to COMESA.  This is a part of the larger programme to promote Regional Maritime Security that has seen the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Economic Communities benefit from 37.5 Million Euros to implement a comprehensive programme to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean.

The development of the programme responds to Decisions of the COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which called on all COMESA Member states to support the regional initiative against piracy and consider a multifaceted solution to maritime insecurity.

The larger Anti-piracy programme aims at achieving five result areas shared by four regional organisations:

  • Result 1: The action plan for Somalia is implemented under the leadership of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
  • Result 2: The national and regional legal, legislative and infrastructural capacity for arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates is strengthened under the leadership of the East African Community (EAC)
  • Result 3: Regional capacity to disrupt the financial network of pirates and their financiers is strengthened and the economic impact of piracy is minimized under the leadership of COMESA
  • Result 4: National and regional capacity for maritime tasks and support functions are enhanced under the leadership of the Indian Ocean Community (IOC); and
  • Result 5:  Regional coordination and information exchange is improved, also under the leadership of IOC

COMESA will focus on supporting member states to enhance their capacity to analyse, detect and track financial flows linked to piracy by setting up and strengthening financial intelligence units.  COMESA will also assist the development and/ or strengthening of common coordinated and inter-agency frameworks on anti-money laundering; and also ensure that anti-money laundering laws and regulations are drafted or amended.  Working in close collaboration with the International Police INTERPOL will work with law enforcement agencies to strengthen their capacity to investigate and prosecute financial crimes at national and international levels.

COMESA interest in the programme was mostly motivated by the rising transport, trade and insurance costs, which ultimately affects the regional integration process by undermining development efforts.  Approximately 90% of the Eastern and Southern Africa regional trade by volume is transmitted by maritime transport.  In addition, COMESA Member states have suffered directly from piracy including Kenya, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius.  At the time that the region started to develop the programme in 2010, Seychelles had, for example, recorded a 10% decline in tourism revenues and 30% decline in fisheries revenue.  Addressing maritime insecurity is expected to significantly lower costs of trade and hence enhance integration to benefit the whole region.

Piracy is recognised as an international problem today and it is widely accepted that it requires comprehensive multilateral solution including the stabilisation of Somalia.  The European Union has in its part taken a very keen interest in addressing piracy through several other programmes including the EU Common Security and Defence Policy Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) operation ATALANTA, as well as the EU CAP NESTOR mission for regional maritime capacity building.