THE European Union (EU) and COMESA have signed an €8.8 million contribution agreement to increase private sector participation in sustainable regional and global value chains in the region.

This will be done through improved investment/business climate and enhanced competitiveness in the COMESA region.

Under the Regional Enterprise Competitiveness and Access to Markets Programme (RECAMP) programme, focus will be on agro-processing, horticulture and leather products, value chains pre-selected based on the potential to generate value addition, to create jobs, and to attract investments in the region.

RECAMP will address critical issues, such as provision of business information, facilitating market linkages, harmonising regional industrial policies and creating a conducive business environment to attract investments.

Speaking during the signing ceremony recently in Lusaka, COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe, said the programme would make efforts to enhance the capacities and skills of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)  to make them capable players in the value-chain development.

Ms Kapwepwe said: “A significant number of MSMEs, especially women and youth owned enterprises, are vulnerable when it comes to participating in value-chains networks at the national, regional and global level because of their competitiveness.”

EU Ambassador to Zambia and Representative to COMESA, Jacek Jankowski, assured the EU’s commitment to continue the partnership with COMESA to ensure that regional integration remains as inclusive as possible in view of the challenges posed by climate change.

“Increasing exploitation of natural resources and the environment and in view of demographic trends makes prioritizing investments in value chains that are environmentally sensitive, socially sound and economically viable,” Mr Jankowski said.

RECAMP is supported under the 11th European Development Fund COMESA sub envelope.

The programme is in line with the EU and COMESA policies in support of the private sector, with a budget of EUR 8.8 million and a duration of 48 months.

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