Honorable Mr. Abdelali Benamour, Président, Moroccan Conseil de la Concurrence
Honorable Ms. Margareta Davidson-Abdelli, Counsellor of the Embassy of Sweden in Egypt,
Honorable Mr. Rafael Corazza, Director of the Secretariat of the Swiss Competition Commission, and
Honorable Mr. Theodor Thanner, Director of the Austrian Competition Authority
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy to be here with you today. I would like to take this opportunity to speak to you, on behalf of UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, about our work in the field of competition.
As I mentioned earlier today in the opening session of the ICN Annual Conference, COMPAL has become UNCTAD's main technical assistance programme in the crucial economic areas of competition policy and consumer protection.
COMPAL has achieved solid results, as shown by the positive findings of an independent evaluation it underwent in 2012. In particular, the evaluation concluded that the programme had made "clear contributions to institutional development in Latin America". The programme's reputation led some Latin American countries to join at their own expense. As a result, COMPAL has grown from its five original member countries to 12, with a 13th - Argentina - about to come on board.
Given COMPAL's successful experience, we decided to export it to other regions. Indeed, the programme's strategy will serve as the basis for UNCTAD's planned technical assistance in the fields of competition and consumer protection, to be known as COMPAL GLOBAL.
Through COMPAL GLOBAL, UNCTAD aims to continue being a partner for developing countries seeking high quality, development-focused support to improve their competition and consumer protection systems.
In the context of COMPAL GLOBAL, new technical assistance projects for Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa Region, or MENA, have been conceived and are currently seeking donors. I would like to express our gratitude to the Swiss Government, which has been the main donor of COMPAL Latin America and has expressed interest in continuing work with UNCTAD in that region and elsewhere. I also wish to recognize the Swedish Government, in particular the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) which has shown great interest in financing UNCTAD's work in the MENA region.
This programme will mainly have a regional focus and give special and cross-cutting attention to gender, good governance and anti-corruption issues. This will be accomplished through the introduction of national policy and legal frameworks, and through institution building. The latter includes establishing agencies for competition and consumer protection, training enforcers and engaging in regional cooperation initiatives.
Our MENA programme will also help companies and business associations comply with competition and consumer protection laws and regulations. This will be done through advocacy for voluntary compliance, for integrating the informal sector into the formal economy and for eliminating unfair trade practices. There will also be workshops, and guidelines will be published on applying laws and regulations and on leniency programs.
We will assist MENA countries in establishing an effective dialogue among policymakers for coherence between competition, consumer and other public policies. This will include assistance in adopting competition neutrality frameworks and in implementing Regulatory Impact Analyses, to avoid unnecessary burdens to competition. We also aim to enhance cooperation among MENA countries through the establishment of an Advisory Group of Experts for COMPAL MENA and through the creation of a knowledge management platform.
The COMPAL MENA programme envisages supporting the Euro-Mediterranean Competition Forum, an on-going cooperation initiative, strongly backed by UNCTAD since its origin in 2011.
To conclude, we see our COMPAL MENA program as a tool for regional economic integration, promoting inclusive economic growth and facilitating trade and investment.
Thank you for your attention.