CUTS International witnessed favourable movements among governments and regional authorities in West Africa, particularly in the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) and the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), in the mid-2000 onwards, for operationalising national and regional level competition laws. This motivated CUTS to develop a project on its 7Up Model to enhance the capacity of national stakeholders in select countries of West Africa on competition policy and law.
The countries selected were Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. It was envisaged that empowered stakeholders would contribute toward developing an environment for domestic competition regimes to evolve and thrive. It was felt that in order to usher in healthy competition regimes, it was imperative for the state and non-state actors to complement each other’s efforts.
A two-year project entitled ‘Strengthening Constituencies for Effective Competition Regimes in Select West African Countries’, popularly known as the 7Up4 project (being the 4th in the series of 7Up projects), was implemented in these seven countries from mid-2008 onwards with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID), UK; International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden.
The project was designed to meet among others, the following objectives:
- Evaluate impediments to evolving national competition regimes and identify the best way for addressing such impediments through a participatory process involving multiple stakeholders.
- Develop the capacity of national stakeholders including policy makers, regulators, civil society organisations, particularly consumer groups, academia and media to understand and appreciate competition concerns from national, regional and international perspectives.
As part of the 7Up4 project, CUTS implemented research based outreach and advocacy activities in Ghana (in partnertship with ISSER, University of Ghana). The research helped in developing a baseline of information pertaining to the state of competition in the country overall, and also in some of the key sectors. It also captured perceptions of various key informants about their understanding on competition policy and law issues. Needless to mention, that the level of understanding on competition policy and law issues across the stakeholders was rather weak.
CUTS International was also selected by the Government of Ghana in 2008 through an international bidding process to draft the framework law for National Competition Bill for Ghana. The Bill was drafted and submitted to the MoTI, Ghana around end-2008. However, the government could not adopt the legislation as it was advised by international development partners to first develop a national competition policy and then embrace a competition law for Ghana.