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Opening Keynote Speech - An African Perspective and its Place on the Continent and in the World Order
“Competition policy is a subset of a broader economic policy. It should speak to working peo-ple and communities. Our world has reached an inflection point. In an age of supply chain disruptions, we need to place a higher premium on economic reliance.”
Ebrahim Patel addressed the influence of recent global issues on competition law and the unique challenges of South Africa being a developing economy with a history of apartheid. Minister Patel noted that, since he assumed office in 2019, his office has confronted novel chal-lenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sharpest recession since World War II, volatile fuel prices, and disrupted global supply chains. Recent challenges are exacerbated by traditional challenges of climate change, inequality, exclusion, and political economy considerations of populism and extremism ; and have presented a perfect storm for re-thinking economic policy. Competition policy is one of the many levers that should be deployed for addressing these is-sues. In the latest G20 meeting, it became evident that trade policy, and not just antitrust, needs a rethink.