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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) develops the capacity of the negotiators of the States Parties to the African Continental Free Trade Area in matters of competition policy

The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) and the Trade Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission organized a competition policy training for stakeholders from Member States from 20 to 23 September 2022 in Accra, Ghana with the technical and financial support of Expertise France.

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The objective of this training session is to urgently provide negotiators from ECOWAS Member States with basic knowledge on competition law and policy.

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The meeting highlighted the implications of adopting a competition policy at the continental level in relation to national and regional competition rules.

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Finally, he outlined a common ECOWAS position in the framework of the AfCFTA negotiations on competition.

The opening ceremony of the training featured three speeches.

In his speech, Dr. Simeon Koffi, Executive Director of the ERCA, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, acknowledged the presence of all the expected national actors and their commitment to the ongoing negotiations at the continental level.

He also pointed out the positive dynamics of developing a competitive framework at the national, regional and continental levels, with the harmonization and adoption of rules in accordance with the best international standards, a development that would consolidate the development of the capacities of the actors.

Mr. Augustine Owusu, representative of Expertise France, expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation between the ECOWAS Commission and his organization in the framework of the training session.

He also wished that this cooperation be strengthened and expressed the availability of Expertise France to accompany ECOWAS in promoting a competitive environment and regional integration.

In his opening speech, Mr. Osvaldo Abibe, President of the ECOWAS Trade Experts Meeting, recalled the issues that will be discussed during the meeting and stated that the different stages of the competition negotiations reflect the need to provide interested parties with useful knowledge to better understand the aspects and implications of competition laws at the continental level.

He encouraged the participants to build on the knowledge gained during the training session.

The participants thanked the two facilitators of the training, Ms. Lynn Robertson from the OECD Competition Division and Mr. Sami Ouattara, Regional Competition Consultant.

Topics covered during the training session included the benefits 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; merger control, especially mergers; procedural fairness and transparency; competitive evaluation 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 over the competition.

The States Parties, negotiators of the AfCFTA protocol, were urged to appropriate the regional consensus on the protocol and make ECOWAS’ voice heard in the continental negotiations.

Source: NNN News

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