The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA)’s Advocacy and Sensitization workshop for Ghana Competition Stakeholders on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework

East Legon, Ghana, 22 October 2021: With the collaboration of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Ghana, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organized on 22 October 2021 at the Royal Beulah Hotel, East Legon, Ghana, an advocacy and sensi-tization workshop with the aim of creating awareness on the ECOWAS Regional Competition framework and on the existence and operation of ERCA.

This workshop gathered experts of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Lands, Civil Society, Ghana Export Promotion Agency, National Planning Commission, Ghana National Ac-creditation Service, Chamber of Telecom, State Interests and Governance Authority, Border-less Alliance, etc. The objectives of the workshop were to sensitize Ghana competition stake-holders on the existence of the Regional Competition Framework and ERCA, but also to ensure their awareness and ownership of the competition framework as well as the institutional rela-tionship between regional and national bodies in the area of competition. It also enlightened the participants on the modalities for ERCA’s future interventions.

The opening ceremony was made of 3 statements: the first one was made by Dr. Simeon Koffi, Ag. Executive Director of ERCA, the second one by the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Ghana, Amb. Baba Gana Wakil and the last one by Mr. Michael Opoku, representing the Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Ghana.

In welcoming the participants in the workshop, Dr. Simeon KOFFI, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons expressed his profound gratitude to the Ministry of Trade and Industry for mobilizing Ghana stakeholders for the workshop and also its efforts to strengthen competition and con-sumer protection. After recalling the objectives of the workshop, Dr. Koffi emphasized on the need for harmonized competition framework in West Africa towards AFCFTA through a contin-uous dialogue for which the ECOWAS Commission is committed. He then recalled the work programme of the workshop and urge all the stakeholders for collaboration in the area of competition and consumer protection.

After introducing himself and his functions, the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Ghana, Amb. Baba Gana Wakil welcomed the participants and stated that the workshop was timely organized to enable Ghana stakeholders to build their capacity nationally, regionally and in-ternationally in order to be able to interface the AFCFTA. He then concluded by stating that the advocacy and sensitization are critical for awareness of the Stakeholders.

In his turn, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Michael OPOKU welcomed the participants and stated that competition is an aggressive driver to build industry. He recalled the recent mergers and collapses of companies in the banking and telecommunication sectors and insisted on the need for Ghana to have a competition policy and law. Before opening the workshop, Mr. Opoku bostered on the second phase of the AFCFTA negotiations and called for the establishment of a proper competition framework in Ghana.

3 presentations followed the opening ceremony:
The first one made by Dr. Simeon Koffi on the ECOWAS Competition Framework recalled the objectives of the workshop and the need for ownership, collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders on the regional competition framework. He also demonstrated the direct link between competition, business and trade development. After presenting the 2 Supplementary Acts respectively on the Community Competition Rules and the establishment of ERCA, its at-tributions and functions, he gave an overview on projects and studies that are ongoing in 2021 or yet to be launched in 2022.

The second presentation made by the representative of CUTS, Mr. Appiah Adomako on the competition regime in Ghana focused on the introduction of competition and its benefits, the promotion of competition reforms in Ghana as well as the findings of the studies in competi-tion and concluded that competition increases investment in innovation, reduce cost price, stabilize prices and contributes to innovation.

The last presentation made by Mr. Michael Opoku on the competition legal regime in Ghana gave an overview of the competition environment and highlighted the draft competition bill. After recalling the regulatory framework of competition in Ghana, mostly on mergers and ac-quisitions, the speaker presented all the parts of the Bill, from Part I to Part X, its purpose and objectives.

Following the 3 presentations, an interaction session took place and enabled the participants to ask questions or make contributions, after which participants were divided in 3 thematic groups that came up with few recommendations on means for domestication and ownership of the regional competition Framework in Ghana as well as avenues for collaboration and co-operation between ERCA and Ghana national Stakeholders.

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