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Trade Regulation in West Africa: Making ECOWAS Regional Competition Au-thority (ERCA) operational

Lomé, Togo, 22nd March 2021. The Economic Community of West African States’ Regional Competition Authority (ERCA), an ECOWAS specialised agency, debuted a high-level meeting on 22 March 2021 in Lomé, Togo.  The meeting is aimed at reviewing and validating legal texts and instruments necessary for making its operationalization effective.

The ERCA Advisory Committee on Competition comprising Experts of Competition from the fifteen (15) EOWAS Member States participated in the five- (5) day workshop which kicked off in Lomé, Togolese Republic.  The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons of the West African regional bloc’s Commission.

G-D, Madame Vabah Gayflor, Directrice pi ARCC, le Commissaire Konzi TEI, Abe Talime, SG Ministère du Commerce, Madame Adeyinka Boladale, Présidente du CCC

Photo de groupe des participants à la réunion de Lomé

One of the items on the workshop’s agenda is a presentation of the Advisory’ body’s Activity Report, followed by the ERCA legal and institutional framework.  Other items on the workshop’s agenda are the consultant’s draft report, draft supplementary act amending Supplementary Act A/SA.2/12/08 creating the ERCA as well as the Agency’s draft Regulation on the institutional framework.

Also, members of the Advisory Committee would also consider sanctions, penalties and modalities for waivers, directives on mergers and acquisitions, draft standard cooperation agreement between ERCA and national competition agencies as well as draft comparative study on competition framework in Member States.

Lastly, participants in the Lomé meeting will also present the status of implementation of ECOWAS Community competition rules and make recommendations to promote competition in Member States as well as within the region.

In his opening statement, Mr Konwi Tei, Commissioner in charge of Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons conveyed the high expectations of the ECOWAS Commission to validate texts adopted by the institution’s statutory bodies before the end of 2021, to enable the agency commence its activities from January 2022. «The Commission will conduct a study on a number of economic sectors to ensure that priority sectors within the region that qualify for EU funded 11th EDF are identified» Commissioner Konzi Tei declared

une vue des experts…

In her welcome address, Ambassador Vabah Gayflor, ERCA’s Executive Director recalled the importance of the meeting which will serve as the forum for studying documents relating to the establishment of the legal and political framework for the implementation of Community competition rules, as a condition for regulating regional trade, the region’s economic development and the effective operationalisation of the ERCA.   «In that regard, a consultant has been recruited to assess the competition framework of Member States and make proposals, particularly the institutional  framework, organigramme, operational modalities and implementation instruments of the ERCA, as well as the training needs of national experts» Mrs Vabah Gayflor stated.

It is worthy of note that this 2nd meeting of members of the CAC was graced with the attendance of Mr Abe Talime, General Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and local Consumption of the Togolese Republic.  The meeting is held as a prelude to the forthcoming meeting of Ministers of Trade of ECOWAS Member States which will consider a number of reports and draft texts necessary for the operationalisation of the ERCA.  These include among other things, the conclusions and recommendations arising from the Lomé workshop.

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