Press Releases

ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority to give greater impetus to free, Healthy Trade

03 Jun, 2019


The operations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’ Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) were formally launched on the 31st of May 2019 in Banjul, The Gambia.

Coming on the heels of the adoption of the 2019-2013 ERCA Plan of action by regional trade and competition experts, the milestone event will among others, give greater impetus to a health, free flow of trade and business transactions in the region.

Painting a picture of brighter trade days ahead, the ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President Madam Finda Koroma who stood in for President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, stated that ERCA will strengthen the economic, industrial, trade and investment policies meant to create a conducive environment for achieving the targeted economic and monetary union for the region.

Emphasizing that the Regional Competition Policy Framework (RCPF) is an essential part of the ECOWAS trade and economic development architecture, Madam Koroma noted that the gap between policy formulation and implementation has necessitated a robust advocacy strategy that re-engages ECOWAS Member States and business communities as well as relevant regional and international partners.

According to the ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President, “adherence and compliance to a competition law and policy in our region as is the case with other jurisdictions, will help sustain a free market system. It will provide fair and equal competitive conditions to al market participants and promote an efficient allocation of resources including the maximization of consumer welfare”
She identified four major anti-competitive market conduct that the structure of the regional regulation and competition will focus on as agreements and concerted practices in restraint of trade, monopolization practices, mergers and acquisitions as well as ‘State induced’ competition distortions.

While officially pronouncing that ERCA’s operation has come to full steam, on behalf of the government and people and The Gambia, host country’s Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Mr. Lamin Jobe maintained that the journey to give the desired functionality to ERCA “has been slow, but we have now reached this point in an auspicious moment when regional, continental and global cooperation on competition has become conventional wisdom”

Pledging continuous support for ERCA’s operations, Minister Jobe, noted that following the passing of The Gambian Competition law in 2007 and establishment of its Competition Commission as well as the accompanying Consumer Protection Act, the resultant Gambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) has recorded a number success in the area of competition advocacy, market studies, investigation and the sanctioning of erring market operations”

The Chair, ECOWAS Council of Ministers Mr. Godfrey Onyeama represented by Mr. Joseph Oyi, commended the giant strides taken through the operationalization of ERCA which he noted is primed to serve the overall interest of the West African people having regards to job and wealth creation, reduction of poverty and the improvement of their general wellbeing. He relayed the Nigerian government’s avowed commitment to the promotion of healthy trade in aid of economic growth and development through the relentless pursuit of endevours that bring about the ease of doing business.

In his goodwill message, the President of the Federation of West African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) represented by Mr. Aminou Akadiri, held that there is clear need for the engagement of the private sector in the work of ERCA which will in turn give confidence to business and help in the attraction of more Foreign Direct Investment to the region with autonomous agencies such as ERCA helping to overcome trade hindering bureaucratic bottlenecks.

The head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to The Gambia Mr. Attila Lajos expressed the desire for more robust collaboration with ECOWAS through ERCA to share best practices among others.

The ERCA 2019-2013 Plan of action earlier adopted by the experts, after a presentation of their 422-point report, embodies some strategic objectives carefully crafted in aid of healthy competitive trade. These revolve around the need to ensure appropriate legal and policy frameworks for application and implementation of community competition rules, enhancement of the capacities of regulators and stakeholders in relation to competition and consumer protection.

Supportive partners whose senior officials were on hand at the Experts’ meeting and at the official launch of ERCA and who received the gratitude of the ERCA Acting Executive Director Mrs. Henrietta Didigu were from FEWACCI and Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money laundering (GIABA) among others.

Member States