The ECOWAS Commission/ ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority organised the 1st (Virtual) Regional Meeting on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) draft Protocol on the Competition Policy with ECOWAS Member States on Friday 27th May 2022 to adopt common positions, consistent with regional and national Competition frameworks in West Africa.
Opening remarks were given by Dr. Simeon KOFFI, Executive Director of ERCA; Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade, ECOWAS Commission; and Mr. Michael OPOKU AKURANG, Ministry of Trade & Industry, Republic of Ghana, Chair of the Meeting.
As part of the second phase of the AfCFTA negotiations, a draft Protocol on Competition Policy was proposed by the AfCFTA Secretariat. The meeting considered amendments to the draft Protocol proposed by a working group, which included Officers from ERCA and four (4) competition Experts of ECOWAS Region, also members of the Consultative Competition Committee of ERCA. Following deliberations, the meeting adopted the amendments which will form the basis of the regional position on key provisions of the draft protocol that will be presented at the upcoming 5th meeting of the Committee on the Competition Policy, scheduled from 30th May to 2 June 2022 in Accra, Ghana.
The Protocol on the Competition Policy, which is as an integral part of the Agreement of the AfCFTA, will contribute in the attainment of AfCFTA objectives, leading to industrial and agricultural development and enhanced competitiveness. After the 4th meeting of the Committee on the Competition Policy held in April 2022, addressing the divergent positions of the parties require prior coordination of positions within homogeneous entities such as the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The meeting was attended by representatives from Ministries responsible for Trade, Competition Authorities in ECOWAS, as well as the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions.