Niger stakeholders meet on Community competition framework and ERCA

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Niger
Niger
Spining

In collaboration with the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organised on 22 June 2022 at Terminus Hotel in Niamey, Republic of Niger, an advocacy and sensitisation workshop for national competition stakeholders.

The workshop brought together experts from the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, Economy and Budget, national sectoral regulatory authorities, sectoral agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, private sector operators, business associations, consumer associations, civil society, etc.

The workshop aimed to inform Nigerien stakeholders of the existence of ERCA, sensitise the Government on the need to internalise the ECOWAS Supplementary Acts on Competition and prepare the minds of stakeholders for ERCA’s future interventions.

The opening ceremony featured two (2) speeches by Dr Yaouza Ouro-Sama, Head of the Legal, Investigation, Compliance and Enforcement Division of the ERCA and Hon. Mrs Salmou Gourouza, Minister of Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, representing the Minister of Trade.

Speaking first at the workshop, Dr Yaouza Ouro-Sama welcomed the participants and expressed, on behalf of the President of the Commission, H.E. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, his gratitude to the Nigerien authorities for hosting the advocacy workshop and thanked the participants for their presence. He recalled the regional, continental, and global trade context characterised by the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and stated that within the framework of the negotiations on competition at the AfCFTA level, the ERCA intends to continue its assistance, advice and coordination of ECOWAS Member States’ positions with a view to reaching a common position on the continental competition framework.

Commending Niger for the regular presence of its representatives at all the meetings of the ERCA Competition Advisory Committee, Dr Ouro-Sama noted that the adoption and implementation of the AfCFTA Protocol on Competition will be an opportunity to upgrade the skills of Member States’ experts. He then called on stakeholders to work towards the development of a competition culture before recalling that the adoption of the amendments to the Regional Competition Framework and the instruments for the operationalisation of the ERCA took place in December 2021 and that their implementation will not be delayed. He finally urged national stakeholders to take ownership of the Regional Competition Framework and facilitate its implementation by involving all stakeholders.

After welcoming the participants, Hon. Mrs Salmou Gourouza expressed her pleasure to see the workshop being held in Niamey, the region’s hospitality hub. After thanking the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons for the efforts that led to the adoption of the legal texts on the Regional Competition Framework, Mrs Gourouza recalled the effects of the Covid-19 health crisis before calling for the promotion of the competition culture.

She recalled the objectives of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and those of the national law on competition of 22 November 2019. Finally, she noted the need to ensure capacity building, development of value chains, the opening of markets and improvement of competitiveness, before declaring open the advocacy and sensitisation workshop on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework.

Four (4) presentations followed the opening ceremony. The first presentation focused on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework, the ERCA, its mandate, functions and powers, actions and prospects. The second presentation focused on the draft AfCFTA competition protocol. The third presentation focused on the competition and consumer protection regime in Niger, while the fourth presentation focused on cross-border trade with trade partners within the ECOWAS region. The presentations were followed by discussions.

Following the plenary discussions, the participants were divided into three (3) groups. Each of the groups was able to work on a theme in order to make recommendations to ensure the internalisation and implementation of Community competition rules in Niger.

Finally, to provide opportunities for exchanges and collaboration with all stakeholders, ERCA representatives planned to organise bilateral meetings on 23 June 2022 with national stakeholders, including the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Agriculture, consumer associations, and the Importers and Exporters Union. This series of meetings will allow for a better understanding of the institutional framework for competition in Niger and the possibilities of collaboration with key players.

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