|Sub-component 4.1 includes support for building the implementation capacity of government agencies, COMESA and communication activities.
A common challenge of multi-sectoral projects is having in place effective mechanisms to coordinate project implementation across sectors and between countries. The project will therefore provide COMESA, the regional organization, financial support for recruiting international and local technical experts in project management, financial management, procurement, and accountancy among other critical functions for effective implementation at the central and local levels. In addition, the project will provide support to prepare the operational manual and finance related operational training to project teams, audit for the financial management, the accounting system, office equipment (vehicles, PC, printers, office furniture etc.), and running cost throughout the project life.
The project will put particular importance on communications strategies as part of the implementation arrangements. COMESA will produce short documentaries/videos, other media programs, websites and use of social media to raise awareness of the conditions that crossborder traders face and to familiarize all relevant stakeholders with the Traders Charter and related policy reforms. Those communication products will be widely disseminated at global, regional and country level. The project will also provide finance to each of three countries to develop communication strategies and communication products that should be customized to the national context. Regular performance results at the selected border posts will also be circulated.
Sub-component 4.2: Project Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and Systems for Monitoring Small-Scale Cross-Border Trade (US$1.24 million)
The development of a robust system of project monitoring and evaluation is essential.
The project will develop a system, and build capacity of government agencies, to capture progress in improving conditions for cross-border trade, including, inter alia, the efficiency of cross-border operations, the relationships between border officials and cross-border traders, and the broader impact on conflict affected communities. The joint border committees, which will be supported under the Component 2, will also play a key role in M&E and as a platform for supervising and coordinating activities on the ground, notably reviewing performance indicators, and, when necessary, making recommendations for procedural streamlining.
Furthermore, the project will develop a set of socio-economic indicators that not only measure the changing trade patterns but also measure the improved perceptions between traders and state officials; and give an (indirect) measure of whether socio-economic resilience at the community level has increased as a result of the project. These indicators will be developed with support from the Great Lakes Conflict Facility. Finally, citizen engagement with Civil Societies Organizations (CSO) and traders associations is critical to get direct feedback on conditions and quality of services delivered at the border. The project will attempt to use innovative techniques to obtain some of the data for M&E such as crowdsourcing based on mobile phone surveys.
Responsibilities for the implementation, supervision, and reporting of indicators through the project’s Results Framework (Annex 1) will be held by the principle implementation agencies in each project country, namely the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) in DRC, Ministry of Trade and Industry – Single Project Implementation Unit (MINICOM-SPIU) in Rwanda, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives ((MTIC) in Uganda and COMESA. Where appropriate (for instance, where capacity for data collection and/or access to data would facilitate the monitoring and evaluation process), these lead agencies will coordinate and cooperate with national statistics offices (e.g. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR)) and other government agencies, such as Customs, Immigration, or the National Bank, as needed to access or collect requisite data. As such, project resources will be directed to the implementing agencies with overall responsibility for project M&E activities but may be used to support the building of capacity (e.g. training of enumerators on data collection methods, adding enumerators or data processors to handle increased work load) or data collection activities of those agencies providing direct support to the lead agency.
The project will support systems for collecting data on cross-border trade flows which will provide an essential input into policy making and planning of border operations.
In addition to the project M&E activities, the project under Sub-component 4.2 will support coordinated information gathering on small-scale cross-border trade at the priority border posts in the project. Both Rwanda and Uganda have existing programs for surveying small-scale goods traders. The project will support the pilot of a new small-scale cross-border trade monitoring program at specified border points in DRC. In each country, the project will support the modernization of data collection and reporting on small-scale trade through the use of advanced IT collection systems and platforms (including tablets/Pads) in the project countries to improve the efficiency, accuracy, standardization, and sustainability of the programs. COMESA will play an important role developing standardized data collection methodologies and best-practices, providing peer to peer learning on measuring, analyzing and reporting on small-scale crossborder trade, and developing a platform and website for the dissemination of this information. At the country level, these activities will be led by UBOS in Uganda and the Bank of Rwanda in Rwanda (which already manage the small-scale cross-border trade monitoring programs in their respective countries) with direct coordination and financing from each country’s lead implementing agency (MTIC in Uganda and MINICOM-SPIU in Rwanda). In the DRC, MoC will lead the effort with support from (where capacity allows) the national statistics institute and other border agencies (e.g. General Directorate of Customs and Excises (Direction Générale des Douanes des Assises – DGDA) and General Directorate of Immigration (Direction Générale de la Migration – DGM).