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Enhancing Capacity in Trade Policy Analysis and Training for Greater Regional Integration

Posted on: December 14, 2020


The COMESA is implementing a two-year action under the contribution agreement financed by the TradeCom II aimed at enhancing the COMESA’s capacity to mainstream regional obligations and implementation of regional programmes to achieve deeper regional integration and increased participation in global economy.   

One of the challenges that COMESA faces is the slow mainstreaming of COMESA policies and programmes into national development plans/strategies, which is due to the limited institutional, technical and human capacity in regional integration including trade policy analyses. Furthermore, this project is conceived on the outputs of a previous project funded by EC EDF on “Enhancing Capacity of COMESA Secretariat to support Economic and Trade Policy Research and Analysis”.

In particular, this project is intended to facilitate an increase in the participation of the COMESA Member States in the global economy through the enhancement of the capacity of the Member States in trade policy research and training and building practical skills and knowledge to support regional integration. To reach this goal, the COMESA is establishing and implementing a two-year virtual Masters’ Degree Programme on Regional Integration with Kenyatta University in collaboration with the following 21 universities in the COMESA region.

Cairo University, Egypt;

University of Antananarivo, Madagascar

Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya;

University of Burundi

Centre for Studies and Research of Djibouti;

University of Kinshasa

College of Business and Economics, Eritrea;

University of Khartoum

International University of Seychelles

University of Malawi

Kyambogo University; Uganda

University of Mauritius

Maasai Mara University, Kenya

University of Nairobi

Makerere University, Uganda

University of Swaziland

Open University of Mauritius

University of Zambia

University of Technology, Mauritius

University of Zimbabwe

Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi



Concerning the Enhancement of Capacity in Trade and Economic Policy Research and Negotiations, the objective is to enhance the use of evidence in policy making practice in the COMESA Member States but also at the regional level through trainings for the government officials and private sector players, trade policy research and analyses, research methodologies and capacity building in mainstreaming COMESA programmes in Member States national development plans.

In addition, the programme is also aimed at increasing partnerships and networks. In order to influence the policy making, a crucial role is played by the interaction among people and institutions to share common policy influencing objectives in partnership with Government, private sector, research institutions, think tanks, academia and civil society which will be able to develop trust and joint working plans (i.e. of partnerships UNECA, IDEP, SUSSEX, AFREXIM BANK).

The full implementation of project activities was delayed due to lengthy recruitment process of the project staff and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first phase of the action 22 policy research papers have been undertaken. Thirteen research papers were undertaken in 2019 under the theme “Promoting Intra-COMESA Trade through Innovation” while nine were undertaken in 2020 under the theme “Harnessing Intra-COMESA Trade through the Interface with African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”. The papers undertaken in 2019 are under review for publication in the COMESA flagship publication, “Key Issues in Regional Integration”. The authors of the 2020 research papers are in the process of addressing and incorporating comments from the 7th annual research forum into their final papers.

The results of the research outputs were disseminated through two research fora. The first research forum was held on 2-6 September 2019 under the theme “Promoting Intra-COMESA Trade through Innovation”. Thirteen policy research papers were presented during this forum that also provided an opportunity for five young innovators to showcase their innovations on promoting intra-COMESA trade. The best two innovators namely BRIISP POWER SYSTEM(BPS)- a power system that sustains power almost in its normal range despite being used and GIZA MOTO- African Gate (AFGT) a trade platform that aims to create value through exchange of goods with the potential of re-exporting to new markets were awarded innovation awards. The second research forum was held on 19-22 October 2020 under the theme “Harnessing Intra-COMESA Trade through the Interface with African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”. Nine papers were presented during the forum and the authors are in the process of addressing comments from the research forum.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM