Nigerien actors meet on the Community competition framework and the ERCA

Niger

In collaboration with the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organized on June 22, 2022 at Hotel Terminus in Niamey, Republic of Niger , an advocacy and awareness-raising workshop for national competition stakeholders.

The workshop brought together experts from the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, Economy and Budget, national sector regulatory authorities, sector agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and industry, private sector operators, professional associations, consumer associations, civil society, etc.

The workshop aimed to inform Nigerien actors of the existence of the ERCA, to sensitize the Government on the need to internalize the ECOWAS Supplementary Acts on Competition and to prepare the minds of the actors for future interventions of the ERCA. ERCA.

The opening ceremony featured two (2) speeches by Dr. Yaouza Ouro-Sama, Head of Legal, Investigation, Compliance and Enforcement Division of ERCA and Hon. Ms. Salmou Gourouza, Minister of Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship, representing the Minister of Trade.

Speaking first at the workshop, Dr. Yaouza Ouro-Sama welcomed the participants and expressed, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Commission, HE Jean Claude Kassi Brou, his gratitude to the Nigerien authorities for hosting the advocacy workshop and thanked the participants for their presence. . He recalled the regional, continental and global commercial context characterized by the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and indicated that within the framework of the negotiations on competition at the level of the AfCFTA, the ERCA intends to continue its assistance, advice and coordination of the positions of ECOWAS Member States with a view to arriving at a common position on the continental competition framework.

Commending Niger for the regular presence of its representatives at all meetings of the ERCA Competition Advisory Committee, Dr. Ouro-Sama noted that the adoption and implementation of the AfCFTA protocol on competition will be opportunity to upgrade the skills of Member States’ experts. He then called on the stakeholders to work towards the development of a competition culture before recalling that the adoption of the amendments to the Regional Competition Framework and the instruments for the operationalization of the ERCA took place in December 2021 and that their implementation will not be delayed. Finally, he urged national stakeholders to take ownership of the regional competition framework and facilitate its implementation by involving all stakeholders.

After welcoming the participants, Hon. Mrs. Salmou Gourouza expressed her pleasure to see the workshop taking place in Niamey, the region’s hub. After thanking the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons for the efforts that led to the adoption of the legal texts on the Regional Competition Framework, Ms. Gourouza recalled the effects of the health crisis. of Covid-19 before calling for the promotion of the culture of competition.

She recalled the objectives of the revised ECOWAS Treaty and those of the national competition law of November 22, 2019. Finally, she noted the need to ensure capacity building, the development of value chains, the opening markets and improving competitiveness, before declaring open the advocacy and awareness workshop on the ECOWAS regional competition framework.

Four (4) presentations followed the opening ceremony. The first presentation focused on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework, ERCA, its mandate, functions and powers, actions and prospects. The second presentation focused on the AfCFTA’s Draft Competition Protocol. The third presentation focused on the competition and consumer protection regime in Niger, while the fourth presentation focused on cross-border trade with trading partners in the ECOWAS region. The presentations were followed by discussions.

Following the plenary discussions, the participants were divided into three (3) groups. Each of the groups was able to work on a theme in order to formulate recommendations to ensure the internalization and implementation of community competition rules in Niger.

Finally, to provide opportunities for exchanges and collaboration with all stakeholders, ERCA representatives have planned to organize bilateral meetings on June 23, 2022 with national stakeholders, in particular the ministries of trade, industry and agriculture, consumer associations and the Union of Importers and Exporters. This series of meetings will provide a better understanding of the institutional framework of competition in Niger and the possibilities of collaboration with key players.

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