CONFERENCE

Towards fairer markets in Africa and the EU - Fostering international partnerships in competition policy

CONFERENCE

Towards fairer markets in Africa and the EU - Fostering international partnerships in competition policy

TOPIC

Competition policy for fairer markets

WHEN

17 FEBRUARY 2023

WHERE

College of Europe, Bruges campus , Belgium

SEE MAP

OVERVIEW

Competition authorities and policy makers across Africa and Europe face the challenge of how to make markets work better for citizens, consumers and businesses, while ensuring fairer outcomes and market processes. The rise of the digital economy presents opportunities with new markets and business models but also ways of potentially harming competition and society more broadly. There is also increased momentum for competition authorities to prioritise market problems of wider social concern. Therefore competition enforcers need to work together, regionally and internationally, to keep up as the world changes and to help make the system work fairly and deliver the benefits of digital and trade liberalisation for consumers and businesses alike. A case in point is the forthcoming Competition Protocol of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), with its potential to deliver efficient and fairer markets across Africa. Regional and international partnerships can support these competition objectives and this Conference aims to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and good practices among officials and practitioners from the EU and Africa to address the challenges of an ever-changing world.

The Conference is open to practitioners, enforcers and academics from the private and public sectors.

Register here. Please note: due to limited number of seats, registrations will be followed by a confirmation email.

PROGRAMME

09:30 – 10:20

Registration

10:20 – 10:40

Welcome remarks by Mr Guillaume LORIOT – Deputy Director-General – European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition

10:40 – 12:15

Panel 1 – Competition in the digital age in Africa and the EU – shared realities?

The growth in tech emergence has accelerated since the global pandemic, and the rapid rise of the digital economy has led to policy makers and competition authorities looking at a more nuanced approach to competition regulation for digital markets. This panel will explore the differences and similarities of the dynamics of digital markets in Africa and the EU, and how considerations of digital and structural transformations – such as the impact of digital innovation on opening up the economy to previously excluded businesses and consumers – are balanced against concerns about market power and the growing influence of large digital platforms within and beyond the marketplace.

13:45 – 15:15

Panel 2 – International and regional cooperation – partnerships for development.

International cooperation between competition enforcers is recognised as beneficial. While the types of benefits vary according to size of authority, maturity, resources, and legal system, international cooperation provides opportunities for more efficient and effective consideration of competition matters, facilitates compliance and improves relationships, trust and transparency. There is always scope to improve and promote regional and international cooperation, within the EU, across Africa and between Africa and the EU. But this requires resources, frameworks and opportunities for effective collaboration. This panel will explore existing cooperation mechanisms within the EU, across Africa and between the EU and Africa,. It will discuss what policy and practical support is needed to improve partnerships and effective cooperation – not only enforcement cooperation but other mechanisms to build trust and transparency between competition authorities and improve the efficiency of markets.

15:45 – 17:00

Panel 3 – Working together for a continental competition regime for Africa – The AfCFTA.

Strengthening economic integration across Africa requires solutions to cross-border anti-competitive practices and identification of competition problems at the continental level. The development of a competition regime for the African Continental Free Trade.

Area (AfCTA) provides a platform for a continent-wide competition policy to tackle priority public and private restraints that threaten African integration.  The AfCFTA can also offer a vision and voice for African competition policy. This panel will consider the development of this pan-African model and experiences from other regional organisations that might inform and support the effectiveness of a supranational regime, such as institutional architecture, scope, and legal mandate. It will also explore the balance between a continental regime, regional and national competition authorities in terms of overlap, coordination and best-placed actors. The panel is an opportunity to discuss the ambitious AfCFTA competition project and what is required to make it a success.

17:00 – 17:30

Closing Remarks

THE PANELISTS

Renowned speakers will join the Conference, including:

  • Dr Frédéric Jenny (Chairman of the OECD Competition Committee);
  • Mr Guillaume Loriot (Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition);
  • Ms Margarida Matos Rosa (President of the Autoridade da Concorrência – Portugal);
  • Dr Willard Mwemba (Director & Chief Executive Officer of COMESA Competition Commission);
  • Mr Hardin Ratshisusu (Deputy Commissioner of the South Africa Competition Commission).