Competition and consumer protection fact-finding missions to the Middle East and North Africa region

10 April 2015

UNCTAD organized fact-finding visits to Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon from 16 to 25 March, in order to assess the national and regional needs of the countries benefiting from UNCTAD's COMPAL MENA programme.

UNCTAD's COMPAL MENA Programme, supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), aims to promote regional integration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries through the formulation and enforcement of competition and consumer rules as tools for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The Programme also addresses issues such as gender equality, good governance and anticorruption.

The assessments that were carried out involved interviews with government officials and judiciary and the legislative bodies that are responsible for administrative, regulatory and enforcement aspects of competition and consumer protection laws.

UNCTAD also interviewed other international partners, including United Nations agencies working in the field of competition and consumer protection as well as universities, Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Industry and non-governmental organizations.

Based on the results of the assessments, UNCTAD and the beneficiary countries will now discuss and propose specific national and regional activities to be carried out. These will be further discussed in the First COMPAL MENA Conference that will be held between June and July of this year.

The COMPAL MENA programme focuses specifically on:

  • Enhancing the capacities of MENA countries to adopt and implement regional competition and consumer protection programmes.

    This will be accomplished through the introduction of national policies and legal frameworks and institution building, including establishing agencies for competition and consumer protection and training enforcers.

  • Helping companies and business associations comply with competition and consumer protection laws and regulations.

    This will be done through advocacy for voluntary compliance, in order to integrate the informal sector into the formal economy and eliminate unfair trade practices.

    Workshops will be organized and guidelines published on applying laws and regulations and on leniency programme.

  • Assisting MENA countries to establish dialogue between policymakers to achieve 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.

  • Facilitating the accession of new members into GLOBAL COMPAL and responding to the different needs and circumstances of different countries, tailor-made policy advice and capacity building activities.