The ECOWAS Commission held a virtual consultative meeting with officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the steps taken to create a fair market competitive environment in the sub-region particularly the establishment and operationalization of ECOWAS Regional Competitive Authority (ERCA). The meeting also created an avenue for ERCA to explore areas of collaboration and seek support from the AfDB in order for ERCA to deliver on its mandate. The virtual meeting had in attendance officials of the Department of Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the ECOWAS Commission, ERCA and AfDB.
In his opening speech, Mr. Tei Konzi, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the ECOWAS Commission thanked the experts from AfDB for attending the meeting. He informed the meeting that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in December 2008 adopted the ECOWAS Competition Policy Framework, as well as two Supplementary acts, one on the Community Competition Rules and the other on the establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) the agency that will be responsible for the implementation of these community rules within ECOWAS. He said the essence of this meeting is to notify AfDB on the steps taken by the Commission to ensure that anticompetitive business practices are prohibited in the sub-region through ERCA.
Ms Omoluabi-Davies Omotere, the Regional Integration Coordinator, AfDB underscored the importance of this collaborative meeting between the two institutions especially towards improving the business climate and trade environment in the West African region. She expressed the intent of the AfDB to support the newly established ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority to achieve its mission and to collaborate with the agency in effective implementation of the regional competition policy in a bid to ensure sustainable economic growth in the sub-region. She also reiterated the willingness of AfDB to strengthen ERCA through support for human, technical and financial capacities of the agency.
In his welcome address, Dr. Simeon Koffi, the Acting Executive Director, ECOWAS Regional Competitive Authority (ERCA) expressed delight for the meeting aimed at deepening collaboration between AfDB and ERCA. He stated that the objectives of ERCA are in line with the bank's regional integration strategy for West Africa 2020-2025 anchored on two pillars namely enhancing regional infrastructure and supporting regional enterprise. He said the bank is already supporting the agency through one of the projects currently ongoing and used the medium to further request for more projects. He wished participants a fruitful deliberations at the meeting in order to stimulate and sustain mutually beneficial relationships between the institutions.