COMESA - US$ 8 Million Grant in Support of Public Procurement

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COMESA - US$ 8 Million Grant in Support of Public Procurement

Tunis, 14 August 2006 –  The African Development Bank Group and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa on Monday in Tunis, signed an agreement for a grant of 5.66 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$ 8.40 million to finance procurement reforms and capacity building project in  COMESA states.

Mr. Lobe Ndoumbe, Acting Director, Governance, Economic and Financial Management Department, signed the agreement for the Bank while Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, Assistant Secretary-General for COMESA.

Commenting on the grant from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the ADB Group, Mr. Lobe said that the support would enhance and consolidate procurement reforms made under the  Bank’s previous support in the domain.

"This new project will support public procurement reforms in COMESA member states by helping to modernize and harmonize laws, regulations, and procurement procedures and by strengthening the countries’ capacities to manage modern procurement systems," Mr. Lobe emphasized.

For his part, Mr. Ngwenya said the ADF grant illustrates that the Bank group remains a partner in the process of integration of the economies in the region.

"I am glad to report that we are on course to attain the customs union as a result of the many advances COMESA has made in regional inegration. Those advances include the establishment of a Free Trade Area in 2000, which has led to increased intra-COMESA trade, the adoption of common  customs laws, and the introduction of many transport and facilitation measures", he noted.The project is expected to enhance good governance through modern and harmonised public procurement systems.

The expected outputs are: full awareness of the principles and workings of the national and regional public procurement systems by the public and private sectors; publication of national procurement laws and regulations that are consistent with the COMESA procurement directive passed under the Public Procurement Reform Project (PPRP) as well as well-designed procurement training materials and case studies;

It will also result in a well trained critical mass of procurement professionals, capable of managing the modern procurement system; Enhanced capacity at COMESA Secretariat level to implement COMESA objectives, and monitoring of compliance to COMESA Directives and enhanced information technologies and human capacity for collection and dissemination of procurement information.

The governments of member States, the private sector and development partners will benefit from the project through the modernization and harmonization of their national procurement systems and by strengthening their institutional capacity to manage the modernized systems. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat to assist Member States implement their procurement systems. The project will promote better governance and harmonize public procurement systems in the Member States, which will, in turn, enhance intra-regional trade in COMESA and trade between COMESA and the rest of the world.

The total project cost is estimated at UA 6.36 million, equivalent to US$ 9.44 million. The ADF grant will finance 89 % of the cost, while COMESA will provide the remaining 11 %.

* 1 UA = USD 1.48386 as at 14/08/2006

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