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Malawi, others unite to fight market abuse

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Malawi and other competition authorities in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region have agreed to cooperate in dealing with anti-competitive business practices in their respective countries.

This comes after Sadc competition authorities approved and adopted detailed frame works for future cooperation in investigations of anti-competitive business practices, specifically mergers and cartels, during an Extraordinary Meeting of the Sadc Standing Committee on Competition and Consumer Law and Policy last week held in South Africa.

This has coincided with the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sadc competition authorities signed in May this year under which authorities committed themselves to cooperate in the enforcement of their respective competition laws.

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The agreement will ensure effective functioning of markets for goods and services for the economic welfare of the citizens in their respective nations.

Speaking in the wake of the agreement, CFTC Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Richard Chiputula, said the adoption of cooperation frameworks is important to Malawi in a number ways.

He said through the cooperation frameworks on mergers and cartels, Sadc competition authorities have agreed to share non-confidential information on merger and cartel investigations, evidence gathering and coordination on remedy design and implementation.

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“The cooperation frameworks will ensure effective coordination with other authorities in the investigations of mergers and detection and remedying of cross border cartels. The cooperation will also ensure that Malawi benefits from joint studies and research on issues of common interest, including the assessment of the impact of their interventions in markets,” Chiputula said.

Chiputula said this during commemorations of this year’s World Competition Day observed under the theme, Harmful Effects of Cartels on Consumers.

The effects of cartels in Africa are documented in a joint report by the African Competition Forum and the World Bank, which showed that the retail prices of 10 key consumer goods (including bread, milk, eggs, potatoes and frozen chicken) are on average 24 percent higher in African cities than in other economies around the world.

Chiputula said that on mergers cooperation, benefits to merging parties of increased cooperation among Sadc competition agencies include reducing unnecessary duplication of work, delays and burdens for merging parties and agencies, reducing gaps in information available to agencies which increases analytical robustness and promoting convergence in the analysis of specific cases.

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