Dakar, March 7, 2022: In collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and SMEs of the Republic of Senegal, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organized on March 7, 2022, at the Fleur de Lys Hotel in Dakar, an advocacy and awareness-raising workshop for national competition stakeholders in Senegal. This workshop, which brought together experts from the Ministries of Trade and SMEs, Industry, Economy, Planning, and Cooperation, Finance, national regulatory authorities, sectoral agencies, the Patronat, the Chamber of Commerce, the Bar Association, business associations, consumer associations, etc., had as its objective to raise awareness of the importance of competition in Senegal, The objectives of the workshop were to inform Senegalese stakeholders of the existence of the ERCA, to sensitize the Government on the need to internalize the ECOWAS Additional Acts on Competition and to prepare the minds of stakeholders on the next interventions of the ERCA.
The opening ceremony of this workshop was marked by two (2) interventions, namely that of Dr. Simeon Koffi, Executive Director a.i. of the ERCA, and that of Mr. Alioune Badara Ba, Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Trade and SMEs, representing the Minister of Trade and SMEs of the Republic of Senegal.
Taking the floor first, Dr. Simeon Koffi, after welcoming the participants and thanking them for their presence, expressed, on behalf of the President of the Commission and the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons of ECOWAS, his deep gratitude to the President of the Republic, the Government and the People of Senegal for having agreed to host this session and more particularly to the Ministry of Trade and SMEs for the efforts made to prepare this session.
Recalling the objective of this session which is the appropriation by Senegalese stakeholders of the ECOWAS regional competition framework, the speaker insisted on the need for collaboration between the ERCA and state and non-state actors to ensure the implementation of the regional competition framework. He then indicated that the collaboration will focus on the collection and exchange of information and experiences, before calling on Member States to engage in an in-depth dialogue and to adopt harmonization policies, in order to prepare for the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreements.
Recalling the objectives of this workshop, Dr. Koffi appealed to the Member States to adopt a common position in the framework of negotiations on competition, before recalling the themes that will be discussed in the workshop groups.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Trade and SMEs of the Republic of Senegal, Mr. Alioune Badara Ba, Technical Adviser of the said Ministry expressed his satisfaction at the opening of this workshop before indicating that the meeting is part of the implementation of the regional competition framework. After thanking ECOWAS for its contribution to the field of competition, Mr. Badara Ba indicated that it was necessary to implement the provisions of the regional competition framework to regulate the functioning of the regional market. He added that competition is a lever for development and a real catalyst to protect consumers.
Reaffirming the commitment of the Senegalese Government to accompany any initiative for the development of competition, he informed the participants that Senegal has already put in place an adaptation project to replace the Competition Commission with a strong competition authority with powers and material means. He finally invited the actors to appropriate the recommendations that will come out of this workshop and reiterated the availability of the Ministry to give the work of the workshop all the importance it deserves, before declaring open the advocacy and sensitization workshop on the Regional Competition Framework of ECOWAS.
Three (3) presentations followed the opening ceremony. The first presentation focused on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework, the ERCA, its mandate, functions and powers, its actions, and future prospects. The second presentation focused on competition policy in Senegal and the third on the operationalization instruments of the ERCA adopted in December 2021. These presentations were followed by discussions.
Following the plenary discussions, the participants were divided into three (3) groups. Each of these groups was able to work on a theme with a view to making recommendations to ensure the internalization and implementation of community competition rules in Senegal.
Finally, in order to establish spaces for information exchange and collaboration with all stakeholders, the ERCA delegation organized bilateral meetings on March 8, 2022, with a number of national actors, including the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), as well as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, socio-professional associations, and the Directorate of Private Sector Development (DPSD), which is part of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Cooperation.