Competition watchdog pens pact with regional body to protect buyers

Women prepare their recepies during gthe Mothers day cooking competition. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The competition watchdog has partnered with its East Africa affiliate to protect consumers in the region.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the East African Community Competition Authority (EACCA) will help mitigate competition infringements by firms engaged in cross-border trade.

CAK Acting Director-General Dr Adano Wario said in Nairobi yesterday the MoU will also foster transparency and predictability in merger notifications. 

It will also facilitate information sharing during joint investigations, market inquiries and studies.

Dr Wario noted that competition regulation is a powerful and important tool in enhancing regional integration and fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

“It is incumbent on competition regulators within the community to cooperate and collaborate with the aim of implementing a coherent regulatory framework that is supportive of investments, while purposely extinguishing harmful anti-competitive conduct,” said Dr Wario.

The two agencies are expected to set up a working group tasked with implementing several prioritised activities through annual work plans.

By the end of December 2024, they have committed to, among other things, reviewing and streamlining their merger notification guidelines, developing and implementing an information-sharing framework for cross-border infractions, and reviewing various complementary regulations and guidelines.

EACCA Registrar Lilian Mukoronia said the MoU is aligned with the aspirations of the EAC Treaty, Customs Union, and Common Market Protocols.

Economic integration

The agreement will leverage these to provide consumers in partner states with competitively priced products of good quality and protect market participants from anti-competitive practices.

“The MoU is a palpable effort to enhance cooperation between the CAK and the EACC in order to boost enforcement efforts in the region and ensure that our markets work efficiently and competitively, thereby progressing the economic integration agenda,” said Ms Mukoronia.

She added: “It is instructive that our maiden collaboration is with the CAK, a notable national competition enforcer in the region. Learning drawn from this initiative will serve as a benchmark for future collaborations with national agencies in the Community.”

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