With the collaboration of the Ministry for Trade and Industry of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) organized an advocacy and sensitization workshop in Freetown on February 28, 2022.
The workshop with the aim of creating awareness on the ECOWAS Regional Competition Framework and on its existence and operation, gathered experts of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, the Investment and Export Promotion Agency, the Cooperative Department, the Traders Council, the Civil Society Associations, the Association of Journalists, the Consumer Protection Associations, the Chamber of Commerce, sector regulators, etc.
The workshop was not only to sensitize Sierra Leone competition stakeholders on the existence of the Regional Competition Framework and ERCA, but to ensure their awareness and ownership of the competition framework as well as the institutional relationship between regional and national bodies in competition. It also enlightened the participants on the modalities for ERCA’s future interventions.
While welcoming the participants to the workshop, Dr. Simeon KOFFI, on behalf of the President and the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons of the ECOWAS Commission expressed his profound gratitude to the ECOWAS Commission and the ERCA Staff. He also expressed his gratitude to the President, the Government, and the People of Sierra Leone for their warm reception and particularly the Ministry of Trade and Industry for organizing the meeting and for the progress made in competition and consumer protection.
After recalling that this advocacy workshop is part of the process of ownership of the regional competition framework by Member States, he emphasized the need for ERCA and Member States to work together and ensure that there is a constant dialogue on the competition policy. He finally introduced the content of the session before wishing to the participants a fruitful workshop.
Mr. Abdul Kamara, Director of Export Promotion and Regional Integration at the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Sierra Leone, representing the Honourable Minister, after conveying the apologies of the Minister and the Chief Director for not being able to open the session, thanked ERCA for holding this advocacy workshop in Sierra Leone. He stated that the workshop is a platform for opening a dialogue space that is linked to the AFCFTA and a room for private and public sectors for collaboration towards the Africa Agenda. After recalling that Trade is key for national development for fair competition, transparency, accountability, and fairness, he informed the participants that Sierra Leone has a national competition policy and has adopted a Consumer Protection Act that will lead to the setting up of a Consumer Protection Commission, before declaring the workshop open.
Following presentations at the workshop, an interactive session took place which enabled the participants to ask questions, make contributions and interact, after which participants made recommendations on means for domestication and ownership of the regional competition Framework in Sierra Leone as well as avenues for collaboration and cooperation between ERCA and Sierra Leone national Stakeholders.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).