The COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) has been recognized as the most established regional competition authority so far in Africa. However, the CCC’s enforcement of the 2004 COMESA Competition Regulations (the “Regulations”) has not been easy. It has been marred with challenges. For instance, the launch of CCC –although established in 2004–faced backlash from some of the COMESA Member States, COMESA national competition agencies (NCAs), lawyers, and the business community even before it became operational. That is why it took almost a decade, in 2013, for CCC to commence enforcement of the Regulations. Despite these challenges, on 14th January 2023, CCC will be celebrating a decade of existence. If so, how has CCC enhanced the enforcement of the regional competition laws and what lessons can young and emerging regional competition regimes (RCRs) learn from CCC? In this blog article, we discuss the strategies that CCC has adopted in building its authority and strengthening cooperation with NCAs and other stakeholders in the enforcement of the COMESA regional competition law.
Regional Competition Regime
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.
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.
Whatever their level of evolution in competition regulation, developing countries, particularly African countries except for a few rare success stories such as South Africa, need to interrogate their RCRs and national competition laws. Countries without a competition regime or law have the advantage of avoiding the Washington Consensus trap and forging a national competition law tailored to their development goals