As a result, a number of African states saw it fit to regulate this emerging digital market to maximize its full potential, a rationale that birthed the African Heads of Competition Authorities Dialogue (AHCAD).
The African Heads of Competition Authorities Dialogue (AHCAD), a continental umbrella group of competition watchdogs founded a year ago to strengthen regulators' abilities to monitor digital marketplaces, has drawn new members from the area.
The competition watchdogs of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Gambia, Morocco, and Zambia have joined the Pan-African alliance in collaborative efforts to establish a continent-wide capability to monitor the complex digital marketplaces.
The bloc's founding members, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and Mauritius, stated last year that digital markets had altered traditional markets, generating new competition challenges and needing regulatory coordination.
In a statement on Wednesday, AHCAD said the continent's competition regulators confront comparable issues in dealing with digital markets, thus the need for "African jurisdictions to cooperate in close relationship to exchange information and joint strategies for the growth of major markets."
Furthermore, the group, in their second meeting which was held in Cairo 2 weeks back, agreed to cooperate in the enforcement of digital markets regulations, share case summaries, studies, and experiences in regulating the sector, and set an annual working plan to tackle “matters of common interest in digital market”.
Currently, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Nigeria have the most prominent digital services sectors as a share of GDP on the continent and are estimated to grow to 9.24%, 7.84%, 7.86%, and 6.86% respectively by 2025. These figures could lure more African countries to join the continental group.
According to the International Finance Corporation's 2020 study, Africa's collective digital services industry would account for 5.2% of GDP by 2025, up from the current forecast of 4.5%.
As stated in the group’s official manifesto which was released in Johannesburg, South Africa, on February 2022, member states agreed to collaborate by,
- Scoping the conduct in digital markets, which has been the subject of investigation in other jurisdictions, on African consumers, businesses, and economies with the purpose of fair regulation and enforcement in Africa (where applicable).
- Researching the barriers to the emergence and expansion of African digital platforms and firms that may contribute to enhanced competition and inclusion in these markets for the benefit of African consumers and economies.
- Cooperating in assessing global, continental, and regional mergers and acquisitions in digital markets, including harmonizing the notification framework; without prejudice to confidentiality commitments.
- To share information in accordance with existing laws and applicable protocols.
- Sharing knowledge and building capacity to deal with digital markets.