PRACTICES: MERGER CONTROL - AFRICA - COMESA

Merger control in Africa: COMESA Competition Commission under review

Since 14 January 2013 undertakings which have business activities within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (“COMESA” or “Common Market”) must deal with a new mandatory merger control regime.* At first glance, the system seems to have some similarity to merger control in the European Union—containing the idea of a supranational authority. However, practice shows that difficulties and legal uncertainty exist. The following article gives an overview of the legal requirements for merger control in the COMESA region. Subsequently, the functioning of the new regime in practice as well as the current reform process is described in order to provide some guidance for legal advisors and their clients. The article concludes with an outlook on future challenges and a few recommendations.

I. Merger control provisions in the common market 1. One year ago, the new merger control regime came into force and the COMESA Competition Commission (“CCC”) has been entrusted with enforcing the competition law provisions in the Common Market. 1. One stop shop 2. A notification is mandatory if the transaction concerns a merger in the sense of the COMESA Competition Regulations (“Regulations”) and if the merger control thresholds are fulfilled (i.e. the merger has a so-called regional dimension). [1] The system is based on the idea of a one stop shop which is probably inspired by merger control in the European Union. The one stop shop principle means that the CCC is exclusively responsible for all mergers with a regional dimension (Art. 5 and Art. 24 (7) of the Regulations). There is

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Author

  • Hengeler Mueller (Dusseldorf)

Quotation

Anja Balitzki, Merger control in Africa: COMESA Competition Commission under review, May 2014, Concurrences N° 2-2014, Art. N° 65479, p. 237

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