COMESA, Africa’s regional economic bloc, starts to harmonize competition laws


Africa’s largest trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), said Friday that member states have begun the process of harmonizing competition laws to boost regional trade.

COMESA Competition Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Willard Mwemba told an international forum in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that several countries, such as Uganda, Eswatini, Djibouti and Ethiopia, have commenced the process of aligning their national competition laws with COMESA competition regulations.

“Our target is that in the next two years, the region will have unified competition laws so that the cost of cross-border transactions is reduced,” Mwemba told the 2023 Consumers International Global Congress.

The three-day conference, held under the theme of “Building a Resilient Future for Consumers,” gathered delegates from more than 100 countries, including senior government officials, consumer rights advocates and scholars, to review the status of consumer protection across the world.

Mwemba said that COMESA, which has 21 member states, is keen to operationalize harmonized competition rules that will prevent restrictive business practices that could hinder liberalization of trade.

Common competition laws will also ensure the enforcement of high consumer product safety standards, he said.

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