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EU hands over US$288 000 worth of ICT equipment to Zim Govt

The European Union (EU) on Friday handed over Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment worth US$288 000 to the Zimbabwean government with another consignment worth US$400 000 set to arrive in the country soon as part of the EUR10 million Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Harare and the bloc.

The equipment comprised of 71 laptops, 10 heavy-duty printers, 45 Desk Top printers, 2 virtual conferencing equipment and 12 GPS tablets.

Government departments and agencies earmarked to get the equipment include the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Industry and Commerce, omen Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF), the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) and the National Competitive Commission (NCC).

The equipment comes under the Technical Assistance to the Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement (TAZEPA) between Zimbabwe and the European Union.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in the capital, Foreign Affairs and International Trade permanent secretary James Manzou said the history of the Economic Partnership Agreement, which is the anchor on which the Technical Assistance to the Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement (TAZEPA) project is built, dated way back to August 2009, when Zimbabwe signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) with the EU, as a member of the group of five Eastern and Southern Africa States (ESA-5) which include Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

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He said the agreement covers the areas of trade, fisheries and economic development cooperation.

“The iEPA Agreement provides Zimbabwe with duty and quota-free market access to the EU while foreseeing gradual liberalization of 80 percent on EU imports as well as spur on integration into the regional and international trading system, with a view to unlock the much-needed investment and resources for economic development,” he said.

The Technical Assistance covers procurement of supplies, provision of grants to Business Support Organisations (BSOs) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) associations, among others.

Manzou said the objective of the ZEPA project was to enhance Zimbabwe’s integration into the regional and international trading systems, which was achievable in mainly three broad areas, namely reforming and streamlining policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks in order to incentivise production and trade; expedite movement, release and clearance of goods and improving the competitiveness and export capacity of small and medium sized enterprises.

He said, after signing the ZEPA with the EU, and in order to strengthen the programme implementation, Government signed a four-year Service Contract on Technical Assistance to the Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement Support Project (TAZEPA) with the GFA Consulting Group (GER), Crown Agents (UK) and DNA Economics (SA) in August 2018.

“This equipment we are receiving today adds to the list of deliverables that have been achieved through this partnership, which includes policy reviews and capacity building, among others,” he said, adding work was also ongoing at the country’s borders as a result of the partnership, which was advancing the operations of ZIMRA. New Ziana