Third High Level Steering Committee Meeting of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA)
Ambassador Vivianne Fock Tave, Principal Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department and National Authorising Officer (NAO) for the European dossier, along with Ambassador Vincent Degert, Head of the European Union Delegation based in Mauritius, co-chaired the Third Virtual High Level Steering Committee Meeting of the Economic Partnership Agreement Programme under 11th European Development Fund (EPA) on Wednesday 30th March 2022.
The meeting which is held biannually, allowed members of the Committee to be apprised on the progress of the long-term technical assistance to provide support towards the implementation of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) in Seychelles. The meeting gave the members an opportunity to raise any pertinent points regarding the implementation of the programme.
It must be noted that the aim of the programme is to enhance the capacity of the public and private sectors to reap the full potential of the current iEPA and increase Seychelles’ competitive integration into the regional and international trading system. Another important component of the iEPA support programme concerns the development of the productive sector, meaning small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The iEPA is an interim agreement signed by Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe with the European Union (EU) on 29 August 2009 in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) configuration. The agreement is being implemented since 2012 and it aims to boost trade and investment among all signatory parties.
This year’s meeting focused on the challenges of the implementation of the programme, such as the on-going COVID 19 pandemic, which has delayed several project activities under the programme. The meeting noted some positive achievements, such as the conclusion of the Training on the Harmonised System (HS), aimed to provide capacity building to the staff of the Seychelles Revenue Commission on the new HS 2022 terminology and domestic regulations. The meeting also discussed the near completed projects, such as the support to Intellectual Property Regulation (IPR) in Seychelles, where it provides Technical Assistance to undertake reforms and modernisation in laws and regulations governing IP rights. The members also discussed on the possible extension of the project due to the challenges encountered thus far.
Members of the Committee present included senior government officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Finance, Agriculture (observer), representatives from the private sector and civil society as well as the experts from the team implementing the project.