Building The African Continental Competition and Antitrust Policy
Africa has a large domestic market that possesses opportunities alongside the challenges. With a total population of about 1.2 billion and a combined regional income of $2.1 Trillion Dollars , Africa’s estimated regional GDP was projected to grow by 3.4 percent in 20212. Africa occupies a significant place in the world economy with a potential for even greater impact. Nevertheless, the market growth has been inhibited by various factors including language barriers, customs restrictions, isolated markets, etc. which the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was established to resolve by creating a single market for goods and services in order to deepen the economic integration of Africa.
With the AfCFTA in place, it is expected that the continental market will grow to compete with other regional free trade agreements such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement3 (NAFTA). According to the World Bank4, the AfCFTA holds the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3% through eliminating import duties and reduction of non-tariff barriers but achieving its full potential depends on significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures across African signatory nations.
The associated challenges that trade liberalization and free movement of people, goods and enterprise poses also must be taken into consideration. Given the growth inequalities between African economies, one must be mindful of the fact that various African countries are at different level of development. Competition is a major concern that trails the implementation of the world largest free trade area. The continental antitrust policies forms part of Phase II of the AfCFTA negotiations which will cover investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy.
However, this article will focus on the various factors that relates to competition and propose mitigants to resolve these issues in line with international best practices.