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12-13 Avril 2016 : Réunion de Programmation régionale dans l'Afrique

Lusaka, Zambia

The Africa Regional Planning Workshop was held in Lusaka, Zambia on 11-12 April 2016.

The Commonwealth Secretariat programme management team met with Hub and Spokes II advisers from southern and eastern Africa, alongside representatives from the donor community, national Ministries and regional organisations to discuss the successes and challenges of the Hub and Spokes II programme.

In particular, the workshop addressed:

- Perspectives from national and regional trade advisers on key successes in 2015 and major planned activities for 2016

- Communications, administrative and financial aspects of the programme

- Recent Commonwealth Secretariat research on trade, with application to the Africa region

- Synergies with TradeComII, an EU-funded capacity building programme

Arend Biesebroek, the European Commission Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Zambia and COMESA, stressed the importance of the programme in formulating, negotiating and implementing trade policy in the ACP region. Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser (Trade Division) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, presented recent research within the Commonwealth Secretariat Trade Review 2015. He outlined the Commonwealth effect, whereby bilateral trade costs are 19% lower between Commonwealth countries than other partners, with intra-Commonwealth trade to reach $1 trillion by 2020. Lynn Hicintuka, TradeComII programme manager provided an overview of the TradeComII programme and synergies with the Hub and Spokes II programme.

Participants noted the valuable contributions of the programme in strengthening trade capacity in the African region. For example, Willie Shumba, Senior Programme Officer TIFI, Directorate SADC Secretariat, outlined the important work of the Hub and Spokes II adviser in developing the SADC Industrialisation strategy.

Participants reached consensus in calling for an extension of the programme beyond 2016 to overcome trade capacity constraints, given the low number and high turnover of experts in respective organisations.