COMESA Competition Commission director and chief executive officer Willard Mwemba has raised concern over the delay in the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Competition Policy.

Only nine countries have reportedly ratified the protocol.

Mwemba urged members States attending a meeting on the AfCFTA Protocol on Competition Policy and Research, in Harare, to fast-track the process.

“The African Continental Free Trade Agreement was adopted in 2019, and since then, countries have been trading under its terms. We have made significant progress in negotiations, finalising conclusions in various areas,” Mwemba said.

“The AfCFTA also provides for co-operation on competition matters under Article 4, which stipulates that member States shall co-operate on issues related to competition and neutralise anti-competitive conduct in trade.”

There has been a push to ratify the AfCFTA Protocol on Competition Policy over the past few years both locally and on the continent.

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“Additionally, to put the protocol into action, there is a requirement to develop regulations that will enforce some of its provisions, including those on abuse of dominance, abuse of economic dependence, mergers, and concurrent jurisdiction,” Mwemba said.

He also mentioned that implementing the protocol would enhance competitiveness within Africa and on the global market.

“The AfCFTA agreement also seeks to create a liberalised market for goods and services, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the member State economies both within Africa and on the global market,” he said.

“This is expected to foster industrial development through diversification, regional value chain development, agricultural growth and food security.”

Presenting on the same platform, Comesa Competition Commission chief economist Isaac Tausha said consumers in the region were paying high prices despite low global prices.