The European Union (EU) is set to sign an additional 1 million euros Regional Integration Support Programme with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and International Trade Centre (ITC) focusing on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, head of EU delegation to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme has said.
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Sanitary and phytosanitary measures are put to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests or contaminants.
Speaking at the inaugural of Zimbabwe-EU Business Information Centre (Zim-Ebic) in Bulawayo last week, Van Damme said the planning for the Regional Integration Support Programme had already started.
“The complementary 4,2 million euros Regional Integration Support Programme managed by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [Comesa] is coming upstream and shortly we will sign an additional 1 million euros with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and ITC to focus on sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” Van Damme said.
He said the launch of the Zim-Ebic in Bulawayo was a bridge to the EU and to the world. He said Zim-Ebic would provide information required to prospect the EU market, understand them and clarify the norms and standards to access the market.
“This is a first essential, but not sufficient, condition to conquer the EU market. We all know the challenges facing the Zimbabwe productive sectors which hamper its competitiveness on the domestic, regional, international markets.
“Other initiatives are underway to support trade facilitation and private sector development,” he said.
He added that the 3 million euros Trade and Private Development Programme managed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) under which Zim-Ebic was funded, also helped ZimTrade and associated private sector organisations.
Speaking at the same event ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said Zim-Ebic facility had been instrumental in strengthening ZimTrade capacity to deliver effective, real time trade information, market intelligence which assists exporters and importers alike to conduct business with EU and other countries.
“We are grateful to the ITC, the implementing Agency, for having worked with us to make this day a reality.
“ZimTrade will continue to leverage on the ITC’s extensive experience and expertise, in the field of trade development and promotion to build internal capacity so as to better serve our clients and to ensure sustainability beyond the tenure of Trade and Private Sector Development Programme,” Pilime said.