The second Russia-Africa summit held on 28 July brought together an expert panel of antimonopoly agencies. The panel, comprised of heads of antitrust agencies from various African countries, engaged in discussions surrounding crucial topics related to antitrust regulation.
The challenge of regulating global digital monopolies, as well as the role of antitrust in safeguarding global food and human security were among the key issues that were addressed. Additionally, the panel focused on promoting equitable participation of all countries in the global economy and facilitating access to technology transfer tools.
Alexey Ivanov, Director of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre, provided an insightful foreword. He emphasized that antitrust law emerged in times of uncertainty, playing a pivotal role in advancing economic systems in various regions.
Throughout history, antitrust laws contributed to the development of post-war Europe, Russia during its transition to a market economy, China during the period of reform and opening up, South Africa after the fall of apartheid, and Brazil following the end of dictatorship.
Today, faced with global uncertainties, the significance of antitrust law resurfaces. The modern dominance of global monopolies necessitates global antitrust initiatives, which can only be realized through interstate collaboration, represented by BRICS+, including the involvement of new members from African countries.
An essential initiative that was further developed during the summit involved the establishment of a Commission on Competition and Consumer Welfare in Africa.
This initiative marks the second attempt for regulators from various African countries, including Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Gambia, Zambia, and the Commission (COMESA), which also encompasses 21 other African countries, to establish a working group for cooperation.
The working group’s primary focus will be on key sectors, including e-commerce, aggregation services (online travel agencies and online classifieds), matchmaking services (search services and social platforms like Google and Meta, along with e-call and delivery services such as Uber and Glovo), digital advertising (search and social media), fintech, and cybersecurity.
Remarkably, significant progress has been achieved in harmonizing antitrust regulation through bilateral, regional, and international cooperation among 29 African states. Unlike the norm of taking decades to negotiate agreements and adopt laws to regulate competition in the market, these countries have managed to achieve substantial results within just a few years.
According to Hardin Ratshisusu, Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Commission of the Republic of South Africa, it is crucial to continue developing this area due to the global nature of the challenges at hand. Further cooperation between competition authorities is vital in addressing the complexities of the modern market.