More African watchdogs join plans to monitor digital markets
Thursday February 09 2023
The African Heads of Competition Authorities Dialogue (AHCAD), an umbrella body of competition watchdogs on the continent formed a year ago to bolster the regulators’ ability to watch digital markets, has attracted more members from the region.
The competition watchdogs of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Gambia, Morocco, and Zambia have joined the Pan-African alliance in concerted efforts to build a continent-wide capacity to watch the “complicated” digital markets.
The founding members of the bloc – Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Mauritius – last year said digital markets have transformed how traditional markets work, raising unique competition issues and necessitating the collaboration to regulate.
In a statement on Wednesday, AHCAD said the continent’s competition regulators face similar challenges in dealing with digital markets, hence the need for “African jurisdictions to work in close partnership to share knowledge and mutual strategies for the development of significant markets”.
At their second meeting held last week in Cairo, Egypt, the regulators agreed to form a working group with rotational leadership to lead their collaborations in addressing the unique challenges posed by digital markets.
They also agreed to cooperate in enforcement of digital markets regulations, share case summaries, studies and experiences in regulating the sector, and to set an annual working plan to tackle “matters of common interest in digital market”.
“We hereby give our confirmation that we are committed to expanding and deepening the dialogue amongst competition authorities on the continent,” they said in a statement, inviting more regulators to join the bloc.
Attract more members
Formed to respond to a growing digital markets sector on the continent, AHCAD may continue to attract more members as the sector grows bigger by the day, contributing nearly half as much as agriculture to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).
According to a 2020 report by the International Finance Corporation, Africa’s digital services sector will constitute 5.2 percent of GDP by 2025 from the currently estimated 4.5 percent.
Currently, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Nigeria have the largest digital services sectors as a share of GDP on the continent, and are estimated to grow to 9.24 percent, 7.84 percent, 7.86 percent, and 6.86 percent respectively by 2025.