Analysis

The Analysis Section of Afronomicslaw.org publishes two types of content on issues of international economic law and public international law, and related subject matter, relating to Africa and the Global South. First, individual blog submissions which readers are encouraged to submit for consideration. Second, feature symposia, on discrete themes and book reviews that fall within the scope of the subject matter focus of Afronomicslaw.org. 

The Role of Regional Competition Regimes in Supporting International Enforcement Cooperation

This blog post discusses the role of regional competition regimes (RCRs) in supporting international enforcement cooperation. The appetite for trade among nations has been insatiable over the past several decades. As cross-border trade and business transactions increased, there was also widespread adoption of competition laws and an increased number of competition enforcement authorities around the world, both at the national level and regional level. As a result, there has also been an increase in the cross-border nature of business conduct investigated by competition authorities.

Southern African Regional Competition Regimes – Where are we today?

This article ponders on the developments in the Southern African cooperation in competition enforcement through some of the regional economic instruments, namely, the 2002 Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Agreement, the 2004 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Regulations, the 2009 Southern African Development Community (SADC)[2] Declaration on regional cooperation in competition and consumer policies, and the African Competition Forum (ACF). In this regard, I briefly touch on the importance of regional cooperation in enforcing competition regulation, the challenges faced in the implementation of Southern African regional competition regimes (RCRs), and the reasons why these RCRs face these challenges.

Promoting Japanese Private Investments in Africa: A Clash of Interests

Private investment is at the centre of Japan’s current Africa policy that aims to amplify its economic diplomacy in Africa, offsetting the increased Chinese presence in the continent mainly through sovereign investments. This has made the promotion of Japanese private investments in Africa a “strategic priority of Japan”, whose political impetus in this respect clashes with the economic interests of “risk-averse” Japanese investors. Accordingly, the protection of private investments has come to the fore hastening the Afro-Japanese BIT programme remained idle for decades.

Regional Integration and the role of National Competition Agencies in Competition law enforcement: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic

This blog post illustrates the role of national competition agencies (NCAs) in enforcing regional-level competition laws in Africa. Generally, the journey to regional integration starts with action at the national level. Then, as countries enter discussions and negotiations, treaties or agreements are signed containing articles that spell out common interests between States.

Developing a Regional Competition Law Regime in the ASEAN Economic Community: A Bottom-up Perspective?

While there is consensus about the importance of regional competition regimes towards realizing the economic benefits associated with regional market agreements, there are certainly multiple pathways that may be taken towards the regionalization of competition law and policy in any particular regional grouping. The exact path chosen will inevitably be led by the specific economic and geo-political circumstances in which the member states of the regional grouping operate. In the case of the ASEAN Economic Community, it is submitted that the most practical way forward is to take a “bottom-up” approach with two or more member states taking the lead to establish common ground in specific areas of competition law practice, particularly those that are of greater significance in cross-border transactions and investigations. The success of such smaller initiatives might encourage other members of the regional grouping to follow suit and, hopefully, participate in other “harmonization and convergence” reform efforts that will help ASEAN advance its single market aspirations.

Regional Integration and Competition Policy in West Africa: Interfacing Regional and Continental Competition Policies

The objective of integrating the African economies is now continental. Hence, the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement for a Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) marks a new and more ambitious stage in the process of integrating African economies[1]. Generally, regional integration projects and initiatives have a strong focus on the trade dimension. They aim at lowering and eliminating trade barriers by prohibiting participating members' restraints of trade in the internal market or by creating a common market. The trade dimension is important. However, its objectives would not be achieved without a competition policy dimension as a compliment. Hence, restrictions of competition on the regional level have both a trade and a competition component. To achieve the objective of creating regional markets free of trade barriers, it is crucial, in addition to the prohibiting restriction of trade, to police private and State initiated anti-competitive behaviors.

Competition Law, Developing Countries, and Regional Agreements: Tearing Down Silos and Building Up Scaffolds

There are numerous regional agreements among developing countries. They aim to tear down the trade and investment barriers between and among their members. Moreover, they adopt competition policy and free movement policy to free their internal markets of private and state restraints to achieve market integration, efficiency, opportunity, competitiveness, and a higher standard of living. But most of these regional arrangements do not live up to their potential. Competition policy lags. Why? Reasons commonly given include asymmetry of the member states and their interests, lack of funding and sources for it, large informal markets, governance not sympathetic to competition, and corrupt leadership of nations set on retaining power and privilege. But two critical elements are virtually always overlooked, and unless they are recognized and prioritized, the hope of the regional agreements will never be realized.

The CARICOM Competition Commission as a Regional Institution

This article highlights the benefits the CSME region enjoys for having a regional competition framework and the challenges faced by the Commission in meeting its mandate. It also presents some strategies which the Commission used to overcome these challenges.

The Experience of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) in the Field of Competition

The WAEMU competition policy is, from the point of view of material and procedural law, in conformity with international standards, with certain specificities relating to the control of concentrations, the establishment of a special category of anti-competitive practices attributable to States and, above all, a centralized institutional approach with almost exclusive competence of the Community bodies. Then, eighteen (18) years (2003-2021) after the adoption of the implementing texts, WAEMU competition policy has therefore contributed to the consolidation of the Customs Union, the free movement of goods and liberalization in several sectors of activity (telecommunications, communication, energy, etc.). Moreover, it has become an essential tool for promoting regional economic integration in the Union.

The Role of International Soft Law in Tax Reform: Multilateralism at the Seams

On July 1, 2021, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) secured the votes of 130 members out of 139 members of the Inclusive Framework, on a two-pillar plan to reform the global tax rules. Notably, two African countries—Kenya and Nigeria—, active members of the Inclusive Framework withheld their support for this plan, which has been described by many as “historic”. Nigeria is a major economic force in West Africa and the largest economy, by GDP, on the African continent. Kenya is East Africa’s gateway and the region’s largest economy. What must have influenced their decisions not to support a historic global tax reform, and what are the consequences of such action?