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The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) to hold a Virtual Meeting for National Competition Commissions (NCCs) in the Region

The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) will organize a one-day Virtual Meeting for National Competition Commissions (NCCs) and Departments within the ECOWAS on Monday, 24th August 2020. ERCA is the regulator of regional competition within the ECOWAS region with a mandate to promote competition in West Africa by regulating restrictive business practices, cartels, state aid, mergers and acquisitions that undermine consumer welfare, market efficiency and economic growth in West Africa.

The Meeting will provide a platform for the exchange of experiences among NCCs and departments in charge of competition-related matters in Member States regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their operations and possible flexibilities on completion regulation in the changed business and market conditions caused by the crisis situation. Member States would also generally consider competition law enforcement in the region.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Jean-Claude Kassi Brou will open the Meeting. The Meeting will also feature contributions from other Regional Competition Commissions and Experts such as Mr. Hardin Ratshisusu, Deputy Commissioner, South African Competition Commission; Mr. Udai S. Mehta, Deputy Executive Director CUTS International Centre for Competition, Investment and Economic Regulation; and Mr. Philip Kessler of the European Commission Directorate General on Competition;

The Meeting will go on to discuss any perceived shortcomings in existing Competition and Consumer Protection legislative Frameworks that may have hampered the efficient enforcement of Competition law and Policy during crisis situations and examine the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economies of member States and on the regional trade in West Africa which in turn, may affect the way competition agencies operate. Ultimately recommendations would be made to improve existing regional and national competition legislations with provisions that respond to market priorities thrown up by the ongoing pandemic and identify areas of cooperation amongst national Competition Commissions in this context; the recommendations will also address possible areas of cooperation with stakeholders within the region, other national Regulatory Bodies as well as with Competition Commissions outside the region. It is expected that the meeting outcomes will facilitate the establishment of a more pragmatic and effective framework for competition law enforcement in the Region.

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