23 March 2022 by , and Competition Law Alert

Africa update: Enhanced activity from regional competition authorities

This enhanced activity underscores the importance and emergence of institutional co-operation in the regulation of competition.

COMESA

The COMESA Competition Authority (CCC) and the Competition Authority of Kenya signed a Revised Corporation Framework (RFK) on 1 March 2022.

The RFK broadens the areas for co-operation to now address emerging digital markets which have gained prominence both nationally and regionally; as well as competition law enforcement as provided for by the Tripartite Free Trade Area and African Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements.

The Director of the CCC highlighted that national competition authorities are the foundation for a strong regional competition authority. Through their collaborative efforts national/regional competition authorities will facilitate information exchange for in-depth analyses of cross-border merger investigations on prohibited restrictive practices and consumer welfare violations, which will aid their ability to detect anti-competitive behavior. The importance and emergence of institutional co-operation in the regulation of competition, particularly with respect to emerging markets, was addressed in a previous alert (accessible here).

ECOWAS

On 28 February 2022, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) held an advocacy and sensitisation workshop on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework (Framework) in Sierra Leone. The aim was to create awareness for Sierra Leone’s competition stakeholders about the existence of the Framework, the ERCA and its future interventions. It also highlighted the importance of collaboration between regional and national competition authorities on competition policies.

The workshop took the form of an interactive session that allowed participants to make contributions and recommendations on ways to domesticate the Framework as well as to strengthen the institutional/co-operative relationship between the ERCA and Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone Director of Export Promotion and Regional Integration noted that the workshop was an initiative linked to the AfCFTA and aimed to facilitate a dialogue between the public and private sectors in order to achieve the Africa Agenda. He added that Sierra Leone has adopted a Consumer Protection Act which will in turn lead to the establishment of a Consumer Protection Commission in the country.

EAC

Following an application by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2019, and subsequent negotiations with the EAC, the EAC Council of Ministers (Council) has approved the admission of the DRC into the EAC regional bloc. In terms of next steps, the Council has directed certain steps to facilitate the integration of the DRC into the EAC (such as the development of a roadmap which must be approved by the Council). The DRC is expected to be officially admitted into the EAC at the next EAC Heads of State summit on 30 April 2022.

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