The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) with the support of an expert of the region, conducted a training activity for the national stakeholders on the recently developed ECOWAS Competition Information System (ECIS) from 21- 25 August 2023, in Lome, Togolese Republic.
The capacity building session brought together Members of the Consultative Competition Committee (CCC) of ERCA to discover and learn about the features and functionalities of the new ECOWAS Competition Information System (ECIS). The ECIS is an important tool to facilitate the implementation of the operational framework and mandate of ERCA on promoting competition and protecting the rights and interests of consumers within the ECOWAS region. During the opening ceremony, three officials highlighted the importance and objectives of the training.
The Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Consumer Affairs of Togo, Dr. Abe Talim, representing the Minister of Trade, Industry and promotion of local consumption, on behalf of His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Republic, the Government and People of Togo and on his own behalf extended a warm welcome to all participants to Lomé and thanked the ECOWAS Commission in general, and the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture in particular, for taking the initiative of organising this meeting with a view to building the capacity of those responsible for the day-to-day management of competition in the ECOWAS Community.
He pointed out that in an increasingly globalised international context with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which represents a unique and valuable platform offering African countries in general and ECOWAS in particular access to an integrated African market of more than 1.2 billion people, it is important for the States in our region to bring themselves up to standard by equipping themselves with appropriate systems in order to take advantage of this common market. He finally invited participants actively engage in the various activities of the training to strengthen their capacities for the full and effective implementation of the system.
Ms. Eme David-Ojugo of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) of Nigeria On behalf of the Chairperson of the CCC, welcomed Members of the CCC to the training session, thanked them for their attendance and craved the indulgence of members to diligently pay attention to the training to develop capacity to effectively and efficiently make use of the Information system which has been designed to integrate and make our work easier by providing required data in real time, aimed at seamless information sharing which will help to concretely deliver on the goals of the ECOWAS Integration strategy, enhance the ability to confront and address anti- competitive conduct across the region as well as foster deeper cooperation between member states.
The Executive Director of ERCA, Dr. Konan Simeon KOFFI, on behalf of the President of ECOWAS Commission Dr. Omar Alieu Touray and Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Madame Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, welcomed all participants to the training session on “ECOWAS Competition Information System (ECIS)” and expressed gratitude and thanks to the Togolese authorities for their willingness to host this meeting.
He particularly acknowledged the presence of new members of the CCC who are participating for the first time welcomed to them to this important Committee that contributes to the implementation of the ECOWAS Competition Rules.
The Executive Director went on to state that this training workshop is part of the strengthening of the implementation instruments of the ECOWAS competition framework and the capacity building of the main stakeholders of the Member States and ECOWAS and expressed his delight that all the expected participants from the national structures in charge of competition are present as the training focuses on a new tool that is at the heart of the operational mechanism of the ECOWAS Competition Policy.
The ED pointed out that in line with the various extant Supplementary Acts and Regulations, ERCA and the competition authorities of the Member states have been working closely together, which has enabled the Agency to finalise basic legislation and Manuals of procedure as well as electronic standard notification and investigation forms accessible from the ECOWAS Harmonized Competition Information System. The ECIS System is a regular, reliable, coherent and sustainable information system, which can provide data for monitoring competition in ECOWAS, including the assessment of the consequences of anti-competitive practices on the regional market as well as the economic and social interest of consumers through five (05) main components:
- a statistical information system
- a complaint management system
- a form management system;
- an e-learning system;
- a new website for ERCA integrated with the ECIS.
The training session on the ECOWAS Competition Information System consisted of practical exercises that allowed the participants to have adequate knowledge on a common tool for data management and information sharing on competition. By organizing this training session on ECIS, ERCA reaffirmed its commitment to continue with the Member States the consolidation of the regional competition framework, capable of contributing significantly to the development of the competitive environment and trade in our region.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).