Participation of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority in the 21st Annual Conference of the International Competition Network (ICN)

The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (“ERCA”) took part in the 21st annual conference of the International Competition Network (ICN), which was held from 4 to 6 May 2022 in Berlin, Germany. The ICN is the world’s largest network of competition authorities, with 140 member authorities from 130 jurisdictions. The network provides a forum for sharing experiences and an informal venue for maintaining regular contact to address practical competition policy and enforcement issues.

The annual conference is one of the highlights for the CCM, where the global competition community gathers to discuss issues of common interest and to outline the future of the network as well as areas of cooperation on competition matters. This year’s meeting brought together several hundred senior figures from the competition community, including 58 of the heads of the world’s largest antitrust authorities.

Africa participated with a dozen national competition authorities represented, including Nigeria and The Gambia. The ERCA participated for the first time in this global meeting and was represented by its Executive Director, Dr. Simeon Koffi.

The proceedings consisted of plenary and working group debates on various topics with renewed contours in the face of economic changes, such as international cooperation against cross-border cartels, harm in digital markets, challenges in merger control, effective enforcement of competition rules through advocacy, African cooperation in competition, tools used by competition authorities to better understand markets affected by the pandemic of COVID-19, how to combat and prove bid rigging in public procurement, etc.

In addition to the many relevant lessons and experiences shared, the meeting was an opportunity for ERCA to establish numerous contacts with potential actors and partners in competition promotion. The ERCA also exchanged with members of the ICN board for its formal membership in the network.

On the sidelines of the ICN, a meeting of the steering committee of the African Competition Forum (ACF) was held in which ERCA participated. The discussions focused on the need to revitalize this forum after difficult times due to COVID-19 and to inscribe the action of the ACF from the perspective of the adoption of a competition framework at the continental level. In this regard, an African competition network could be created and integrated into the protocol on the competition being negotiated within the framework of the AfCFTA.

A meeting of AFC steering committee members and RECs is scheduled for May 18, 2022, to discuss these issues further. At the end of this meeting, a decision will be made on the location and date of the next meeting of the African Competition Forum.
The 22nd annual conference of the International Competition Network will be held in Barcelona, Spain.