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Mergers worth $3.1m transacted in Comesa

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The Comesa Competition Commission received over $3.1 million in merger filing fees between December 2015 and October 2016 and out of that amount, over $1.5 million will be allocated to relevant competition authorities in designated member states. Malawi is a member of Comesa.

According a statement from the Comesa secretariat, the Commission assessed 24 merger cases as at July 2016 and more than 70 percent of the mergers received were in the financial services sector with the rest in construction, insurance, telecommunications, energy and agriculture.

Majority of the mergers assessed in 2016 affected Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

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Earlier in 2015, more than 72 mergers worth over $20 million were approved, 20 of the transactions involved Malawi.

The Commission’s Head of Mergers and Acquisitions, Willard Mwamba, earlier said he anticipates more activity in the Common market as the regional integration agenda continues to take shape.

Among the transactions assessed and approved for Malawi by the Commission include Old Mutual Africa Holdings versus Oceanic Insurance, Fedex Corporation and Supa Swift Malawi and International Hotel Licensing Company versus the Protea Group of Companies.

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Chief Executive of the Commission, George Lipimile, said countries like Zambia and Kenya have relatively large economies and outward looking policies which provides a conducive environment for businesses including attracting foreign direct investment.

Regarding the prominence of mergers in the service sector, Comesa said this may be attributed to the diversification efforts of the Common Market in moving from the traditional trade in goods towards trade in services.

“It may also be attributed to the emergence of a middle class in most of economies in the Comesa,” the statement said.

The Commission retains fifty percent of the Common Market merger filing fees and distributes the remaining fifty percent among the relevant competition authorities in the designated member states.

The share of the Common Market merger filing fees for each relevant competition authority in the designated Member State is proportional to the value of the turnover in each state relative to the total value of the turnover in the Common Market.

The Commission said it intends to intensify its technical assistance and capacity building in Member States with particular focus on the training of the national competition authorities on the enforcement of the ComesaRegulations.

Lipimile said: “Our focus in 2017 shall be on advocacy in order to sensitise national governments and other stakeholders on the provisions of the regulations and the need for domestication of the Comesa Treaty and Regulations.”

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