Competition policy in Africa: five proposals READY for action – By Martha Martinez Licetti and Sara Nyman
African countries have much to gain by encouraging open and competitive markets – as highlighted by a recent publication developed by the World Bank Group (WBG) in partnership with the African Competition Forum (ACF). The prevalence of monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies is relatively high in African economies, even after considering market size. On average, African countries score 26 percent lower than other countries globally in terms of the existence and enforcement of competition law. Meanwhile, retail prices of key consumer goods are, on average, at least 24 percent higher in African cities than in other economies around the world, even after controlling for transport costs and income levels, suggesting the lack of competition as a potential factor.
However, there has been important progress towards creating more effective competition institutions across Africa. The number of jurisdictions with competition laws has almost tripled in 15 years – but, as the new report shows, there is still work to be done in effectively implementing those laws in practice. African competition authorities continue to face operational constraints and governments continue to erect policy barriers to competition, trade and foreign investment in key sectors.
So what is the path forward for competition policy in Africa? How can competition policy contrib