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Zimbabwe's reengagement policy gets big boost

by Staff reporter
12 Oct 2019 at 10:28hrs | Views
In a huge boost to the country's reengagement drive, the inaugural meeting of the Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement Support Project Committee aimed at enhancing Harare's integration into regional and international trading systems, was held yesterday.

The Agreement is being implemented over a five-year period with the assistance of the European Union and is being chaired by the Office of the President and Cabinet, represented by Chief Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda.

"The overall objective of the project is to enhance Zimbabwe's integration into the regional and international trading system. Specific objectives of the project seek to achieve the following; reform and streamline policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks in order to incentivise production and trade; reduce trading costs and to expedite movement, release and clearance of goods and improve the competitiveness and export capacity of small and medium sized enterprises," said Dr Sibanda.

He said as part of implementing the project, Zimbabwe signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (i-EPA) with the EU in August 2009.

"Zimbabwe in 2016 gazetted the EU market access offer. In order to support the implementation of the i-EPA, Zimbabwe signed the ZEPA Project Financing Agreement with the EU in January 2017. Subsequently, the EU availed 10 million Euro for this project under the 11th European Development Fund," he said. Dr Sibanda said the Committee will provide oversight, policy and strategic guidance in the implementation of ZEPA.

"I understand the alignment of ZEPA to the country's socio-economic development blueprint, Transitional Stabilisation Programme is ongoing.

"The TSP prioritises fiscal consolidation, economic stabilisation and stimulation of economic growth and creation of employment.

"The economic growth envisaged under TSP will inevitably be driven by the private sector, with Government providing the necessary conducive macro-economic and business environment. "Focus will also be on value addition and beneficiation in order to realise higher value exports, among other objectives," said Dr Sibanda.

He said the success of the TSP requires a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach adding that the ZEPA project would go a long way in aiding Government efforts to revive the economy.

Dr Sibanda also said the implementation of ZEPA would facilitate the release of grants to Business Support Organisations to enhance competitiveness of SMEs and necessary value chains.

"This is particularly so in the wake of Zimbabwe being a member of the African Continental Free Trade Area which provides endless possibilities of a larger market for goods and services," he said.

Dr Sibanda said the official launch of dialogue between Zimbabwe and the EU was part of the Government's re-engagement agenda to reintegrate the country into the global family of nations.

Members of the ZEPA Steering Committee include Office of the President and Cabinet as the chair, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Industry and Commerce, and Finance and Economic Development.

Source - chronicle