The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States, Ecowas, is launching its Regional Competition Authority, on the 31st of May 2019, in Banjul, The Gambia.
The Ecowas Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) is established to implement the Regional Competition Rules adopted by the Ecowas Authority in 2008. The Rules are essentially to promote, maintain and encourage competition and enhance economic efficiency in production, trade and commerce at the regional level.
Being a specialised agency with adjudicatory and investigative powers, ERCA also has a core mandate of keeping under review commercial activities in the Community market with a view to ascertaining practices which may distort the efficient operations of the market conduct or which may adversely affect the economic interest of consumers.
In recognition of its strategic importance to the regional integration efforts, beginning from the 28th of May 2019, a technical committee meeting of national Experts from the Trade and Competition Agencies will precede the launch, offering all stakeholders the opportunity to chart a course for the operations of ERCA and also discuss the unique market structure of the Ecowas regional market.
The ERCA Executive Director, Mrs Henrietta Uzoamaka Didigu, said ahead of the launch: “Given the acknowledged and significant role competition law plays in the economic prosperity of developed nations, and with the adoption of a sound regional framework for Competition Law within the region, ECOWAS has once again demonstrated its commitment to facilitating regional integration through the promotion of regional economic growth and prosperity.”
The meeting also provides an opportunity for Member States to present status updates on their application of principles set forth by the Ecowas Regional Competition Policy (RCPF) including the application of competition Law in their various jurisdictions.
Apart from coming up with a draft strategic action plan for the ERCA, suggestions leading to the setting up of the Consultative Competition Committee and other recommendations of the experts are expected to be submitted at a later date to the appropriate Ministerial meeting for onward transmission as may be necessary, to the Ecowas Council of Ministers for final adoption.
ERCA was established by a Supplementary Act of the Authority of Heads of State and Government in 2008, alongside the Ecowas Competition Rules adopted by another Act in the same year, within the framework of the Ecowas Regional Competition Policy (RCPF) of 2007.