The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organized a meeting of a Working Group for the review of the Draft ECOWAS Directive on Consumer Protection from the 21st to the 25th of March 2022, at Beulah Royal Hotel, East Legon, Republic of Ghana.
The meeting brought together two (2) Staff of ERCA and four (4) delegates from the ERCA Consultative Competition Committee (CCC), two (2) from Anglophone countries (Nigeria and Gambia), and two (2) from Francophone countries (Senegal and Burkina Faso), who are also consumer protection experts to work with ERCA to conduct a thorough review of the draft consumer protection Directive before submission to the ECOWAS Ministers of Industry and Trade. However, the delegate from Burkina Faso who was supposed to be part of the working group was excused for some logistic reasons. The Working Group meeting provided an opportunity for the Experts to review the draft Directive on Consumer Protection and propose necessary amendments and recommendations.
During the opening ceremony, the Ag. Executive Director of ERCA, Dr. Simeon KOFFI thanked the Working Group members for attending the meeting on short notice. He expressed his appreciation to the delegates for submitting their comments to ERCA on the draft Directive and invited them to voice out their comments which they earlier sent on the Draft Directive.
Before opening the meeting, the Chairperson of the CCC, Ms. Boladale ADEYINKA welcomed the working group members and thanked ERCA for organizing such an important meeting. She highlighted the importance of having a consumer protection Directive that provides a framework that comprehensively addresses issues affecting consumers in the ECOWAS Region. She also emphasized that in the era of the AfCFTA, it is timely that this draft consumer protection Directive is under development. She highlighted that consumer protection is among the responsibilities of the ERCA, thus should play a key role in the development and implementation of instruments in relation to consumer protection within the region.
After the presentation of the objectives of the meeting, as well as the main principles of the draft Directive, the Working Group embarked on discussions and comments for five (5) days. Following extensive deliberations, it came up with amendments on the format, preamble, scope, definitions, purpose, policy and application, the institutional framework, the entities that the Draft Directive is proposing to be created, as well as the technical content itself made up of the rights and responsibilities of the consumers, the obligations of businesses, etc.
The Working Group finally made several recommendations to the attention of the ECOWAS Commission Management relating to the official mandate of ERCA in consumer protection, the validation process, as well as the need for manuals of procedure to facilitate the implementation of the Directive once it is adopted.