The 3rd meeting of the Consultative Competition Committee (CCC) of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) commenced on 12 October 2021 in Abidjan. The meeting took place in the offices of the ECOWAS Resident Representative. The main objective was to validate the legal instruments for ERCA to become effectively operational.
This meeting of members of ERCA’s CCC, comprising competition experts from the 15 Member States of the Community, takes place ahead of the next meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Trade. The aim is to examine some draft legal texts required to make the agency operational. The meeting is of great importance as it will engage the process of adoption of the technical instruments required to launch the operations of ERCA in 2022.
The opening ceremony featured speeches by Dr Simeon Koffi, Ag. Executive Director of ERCA, Mrs Boladele Adeyinka, Chairperson of the CCC, Mr Tei Konzi, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons, and Cote d’Ivoire’s Honourable Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Souleymane Diarrassouba.
Speaking in turns, they welcomed the participants, and highlighted the importance of competition in the region, with the entry into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. They each expressed the hope for a speedy validation and adoption of ERCA’s operationalisation instruments, to enable the agency undertake surveillance of business operations on the regional market.
In his opening address, the Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Souleymane Diarrassouba, expressed delight at Cote d’Ivoire’s hosting of the meeting and urged the Member States of ECOWAS to speak with one voice at the upcoming AfCFTA negotiations on competition matters.
The meeting proper began with the consideration and validation of draft legal texts required to make ERCA operational. The legal texts include a draft Supplementary Act amending the Supplementary Act on the Establishment, Functions and Operation of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority, draft Regulation on Mergers and Acquisitions, relating to the rules of procedure of ERCA, draft Regulation relating to leniency and immunity rules and procedures for competition within ECOWAS, and draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ERCA and the respective national competition authorities of Member States.
Following the presentation of the draft texts, representatives of each Member State will brief the meeting on the status of implementation of ECOWAS community competition rules in their respective countries since the last meeting in March 2021, in Lome. They will also proffer recommendations on how to further drive competition at national and regional levels.
Conclusions and recommendations of this 3rd meeting of the CCC of ERCA will be presented to the ECOWAS Ministers of Trade, in charge of competition matters, during the next session scheduled for November 2021.