Published On: Wed, Oct 5th, 2016

Competition to lift economies, alleviate poverty in Africa

African Utility WeekJOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – NEARLY 500 000 people in several African countries could be lifted out of poverty and households could save over US$700 million a year if competition in consumer markets and key sectors is increased.

This is according to a report by the African Competition Forum and the World Bank, set to be released in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday .

Details were made available to CAJ News Africa ahead of the launch.

According to the report, Unlocking Africa’s Potential Through Vigorous Competition Policy, tackling cartels and addressing regulations that limit competition in food markets could reduce the cost of basic foods by 10

According to researchers, lack of competition impacts negatively on consumer welfare in the region, particularly for the indigent. In many cities staple food prices are at least 24 percent higher than in the rest
of the world, even after taking into account demand and transport costs.

While the report showcases the benefits of competition in particular sectors, it also highlights Africa’s progress.

Countries or regional blocs with competition laws jumped from 13 to 32 in the last 15 years.

Tembinkosi Bonakele, Chairperson of the African Competition Forum and Commissioner of the South Africa Competition Commission, says there have been a notable number of countries adopting competition laws in Africa, which bodes well for growth and development.

“However, while the benefits of competition are already clearly observable in Africa, there is still considerable effort required to ensure effective implementation of competition laws and policies across the continent,” says Bonakele.

Bonakele says collaboration among competition authorities in Africa, bilaterally and through the Africa Competition Forum, and with development partners is key to facilitate capacity building of younger authorities, systematize information on competition challenges and opportunities, and address cross-border competition issues that affect the region.

The report says if countries like Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and others were to reform their professional services markets, nearly half a percentage point in GDP growth could be generated through industries which use these services intensively.

Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director of the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, says strengthened competition policy in Africa not only encourages sustainable economic growth and

“ It directly impacts poverty by encouraging firms to deliver the best deals to consumers – particularly the poor — protecting them from paying higher prices for essential goods and services,” says Gonzalez.

CAJ News

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