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UNIDO and ITC jointly undertake scoping mission in Zambia

05 April 2024


Lusaka, Zambia, 5 April 2024— In a significant step towards bolstering productive and trade capabilities within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and driving regional integration, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have jointly initiated a scoping mission in Lusaka, Zambia. Running from 2 to 6 April, 2024, this mission embodies a collaborative effort to chart a course for the successful implementation of a regional programme aimed to develop Trade, Competitiveness and Market Access (TCMAP) within COMESA.

The TCMAP scoping mission is a flagship endeavor aimed at identifying and unlocking the potential of key value chains critical to the COMESA region's economic prosperity. Leveraging the collective expertise and resources of UNIDO and ITC, this mission crafted a strategic blueprint for productive and trade capacity enhancement, aligning closely with the COMESA regional integration agenda and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Throughout the week, the mission has engaged in a series of consultations and technical workshops with key stakeholders, including representatives from COMESA Secretariat, COMESA Business Council (CBC), COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB)  and the European Union (EU). These interactions have been instrumental in fostering a shared understanding and gathering crucial insights into the region's trade dynamics, needs and areas of interventions for the TCMAP programme.

Victor Djemba, Chief of the Africa Regional Coordination Bureau at UNIDO, noted that, “ Africa is the largest recipient of UNIDO’s technical cooperation. UNIDO remains committed and equipped to provide concrete and tangible technical cooperation support to the member States of COMESA through the TCMAP COMESA regional programme, in collaboration with ITC, COMESA Secretariat, COMESA Business Council (CBC) and the European Union Delegation to Zambia and COMESA.  It is essential to underscore the importance of collaboration among African institutions, member states, development partners, and the private sector in fostering a renewed dedication to economic and regional integration to fully leverage the benefits of the AfCFTA. In collaboration with ITC, UNIDO stands ready to boost COMESA's intra-regional trade and trade with the EU while supporting Africa's inclusive and sustainable industrialization and productive transformation".

Ludmila Azo, ITC Country Manager and TCMAP COMESA Coordinator, emphasized, "The synergy between ITC and UNIDO in this mission underscores our joint commitment to further supporting COMESA in its rightfully ambitious regional trade led sustainable development ambitions. Engaging with our partners in Lusaka and by endeavouring to deliver as ONE, we are laying the groundwork for a future where trade is not just a means of economic activity but a cornerstone of transformative change and sustainable development. Our goal is to ensure that the region's trade potential is fully realized, paving the way for inclusive and sustainable growth, incl. economic and environmental resilience".

As the mission concludes, the findings and recommendations will inform the comprehensive programme document, which will serve as a roadmap for targeted interventions across the COMESA region towards increased sustainable intra-African trade and EU Africa trade, through enhancing market access for selected value chains, and improving the export competitiveness for SMEs in selected value chains.  

The TCMAP COMESA regional programme is developed for the COMESA region, and funded by the European Union under the umbrella of the Africa Trade Competitiveness and Market Access Programme which envisages a continental window and regional windows for integrated and holistic support to the advancement of the AfCFTA. It will be jointly implemented by UNIDO and ITC, in close partnership with the COMESA Secretariat and the CBC.

About UNIDO:

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization, and environmental sustainability.

 About ITC:

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


For further information, please contact:

For UNIDO: Juan Pablo Diaz-Castillo

For ITC: