The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ARCC) and the Trade Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission organized from 20 to 23 September 2022 in Accra, Ghana, a training course on competition policy for stakeholders in the Member States with the technical and financial support of Expertise France.
The objective of this training session is to urgently provide negotiators from ECOWAS Member States with a minimum knowledge of competition policy and law. The meeting also consisted of highlighting the implications of the adoption of a competition policy at the continental level in the face of national and regional competition rules. Finally, she outlined the main lines of a common ECOWAS position within the framework of AfCFTA negotiations on competition.
The opening of the training was marked by three interventions. In his speech, Dr. Siméon Koffi, Executive Director of the ARCC, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, welcomed the presence of all the expected national actors and their commitment to the ongoing negotiations at the continental level. He then noted the positive dynamics of development of a competitive framework, both at national, regional and continental level, with the harmonization and adoption of rules in accordance with the best international standards, an evolution that the strengthening of the capacities of the parties stakeholders would help consolidate.
Mr. Augustine Owusu, the representative of Expertise France, meanwhile, expressed his satisfaction for the collaboration between the ECOWAS Commission and his organization within the framework of the holding of the training session. He also wished to strengthen this collaboration and expressed the availability of Expertise France to support ECOWAS in the process of promoting a competitive environment and regional integration.
Mr. Osvaldo Abibe, President of the meeting of ECOWAS trade experts, in his opening remarks recalled the challenges of the meeting and indicated that the different stages of negotiation on competition reinforce the need to provide the actors concerned with useful knowledge to better understand the contours and implications of competition laws at the continental level. He invited the participants to take advantage of the knowledge acquired during the training session. The speakers expressed their thanks to the two facilitators of the training, Ms. Lynn Robertson of the Competition Division of the OECD and Mr. Sami Ouattara, regional competition consultant.
The issues addressed by the training concerned in particular: the advantages of competition policy for a national economy; the fight against cartels and all horizontal and vertical agreements harmful to competition; the concept of the market; the control of concentrations, in particular mergers; procedural fairness and transparency; competitive assessment of laws and regulations; the concept of competitive neutrality; market power and abuse of dominant position; state aid; the AfCFTA protocol on competition and its implications for ECOWAS and its member states.
The capacity building session was an opportunity to highlight ECOWAS’ position on competition. The States parties, negotiators of the AfCFTA protocol, were called upon to appropriate the regional consensus on this protocol and to carry the voice of ECOWAS during the negotiations at the continental level.