June-August 2008

Project Progress (June to August 2008)

The project was launched through a two-day international conference held in Accra, Ghana on 19-20 June 2008 (http://www.cuts-ccier.org/7up4/launch-meeting), which was an opportunity for the project partners to meet each other and get acquainted with the CUTS project team and advisers. It was also an occasion when the project partners were able to interact and get guidance on several issues related to project implementation from a number of African and international scholars, experts and practitioners on competition policy and law issues, which enriched their understanding further on the subject and the need for an effective competition regime in their respective territories.

While the second day of this two day event was dedicated to a workshop on project related aspects, the first day was segregated into specific sessions on relevant competition-related issues for discussions. Presentations (more of a work in progress on the Preliminary Country Paper or PCP) on the state of competition in each of the project countries were also made by each partner, to get comments and suggestions from the floor to improve their papers.

The Ghanian Deputy Minister of Trade, Indian Ambassador in Ghana and Head of DFID Ghana were among those who spoke at the opening session of the conference, and underscored the importance of the conference and indeed the project for competition reforms in the region. A number of national stakeholders from Ghana also benefited from this conference, which attracted over 55 participants from around 20 countries across the globe. This event was jointly organised by CUTS and the Institute for Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER), Ghana.

Soon after the launch meeting, all the partners busied themselves in refining the PCPs – interacting with the CUTS staff and the research and project advisers. A first meeting of key national stakeholders (organised into a National Reference Group, NRG) would be undertaken in the months of September-October; and hence it is necessary that the partners refine their PCPs to be able to share those with the NRG members and elicit their views on the same. Simultaneously, the partners are also engaged in the process of identifying the people to be invited to join the NRG, which is an informal group of multiple stakeholders who are expected to guide the process of project implementation in each project country.

A representative from the project team would participate in each of the NRG meetings to be held in September-October 2008.

Compte Rendu du Projet (juin à août 2008)

La réunion de lancement du projet eut lieu à Accra, Ghana le 19-20 juin 2008 pendant une conférence internationale de deux jours (http://www.cuts-ccier.org/7up4/reunion-de-lancement-de-report) Ce fut l’occasion pour les partenaires du projet de se rencontrer et de faire connaissance avec l’équipe du projet de CUTS et ses conseillers. Pour les partenaires du projet ce fut également l’occasion de rencontrer et de prendre les conseils des plusieurs érudits, experts et praticiens de la concurrence, provenant de l’Afrique et d’au-delà sur les questions de l’implémentation du projet. Ils approfondirent ainsi leur compréhension du sujet et appréhendèrent la nécessité d’un régime efficace de la concurrence dans leurs pays.

Alors que le deuxième jour de la conférence fut consacré à un atelier sur les différents aspects du projet, le premier jour fut divisé entre plusieurs séances sur des questions liées à la concurrence. Les partenaires présentèrent un exposé sur l’état de la concurrence dans leurs pays (en effet il s’agit d’un compte rendu du travail sur le document préliminaire du pays ou DPP.) Ils reçurent tous des commentaires et suggestions de l’auditoire pour améliorer leurs travaux.

Parmi les orateurs de la séance d’ouverture le ministre-adjoint du commerce du Ghana, l’ambassadeur de l’Inde au Ghana et le directeur de DFID-Ghana prirent la parole. Ils soulignèrent tous l’importance de la conférence et du projet vis-à-vis des réformes de la politique concurrentielle dans la région. Un bon nombre des parties-prenantes nationales du Ghana bénéficièrent également de la conférence qui attira plus de 55 participants d’environ 20 pays du monde. La réunion fut organisé par CUTS conjointement avec l’Institue for Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) au Ghana.

Après la réunion de lancement, les partenaires s’appliquèrent à raffiner les DPP, en coopération avec l’équipe de CUTS et des conseillers du projet et de recherche. Une première réunion des parties-prenantes nationales (organisé en un groupe national de référence – GNR) aurait lieu dans chaque pays en septembre ou en octobre, ainsi les partenaires devraient affiner les DPP pour pouvoir les partager avec les membres du GNR et obtenir leurs avis. Pendant cette période les partenaires s’occuperaient aussi à identifier les individus pour les inviter à joindre le GNR qui fut est (présent de vérité générale) censé guider l’implémentation du projet dans leur pays. Un représentatif de l’équipe du projet assistera à chaque réunion du GNR qui auront lieu pendant septembre-octobre.

News from Project Countries….

Burkina Faso

Public Contracts, the Need for Transparency

During the Council of Ministers meeting on 3rd July the Government invited the Minister of Economics and Finance to declare the termination of around one hundred contracts, the suspension of eight companies for a period of 2 years and reconciliation with certain contractors whose failings were beyond their control. It is without a doubt a historic decision but there are a million and one reasons to be sceptical.<<Suite>>

What do Telmob take us for?

Fierce competition between mobile phone operators in Burkina Faso is pushing some to imaginative lengths to attract customers. Not all of their marketing strategies however are as generous as they might at first seem.<<Suite>>

Respect your Sources of Information

The boom in private radio stations in Burkina Faso is evidence of the ease of access to the market, of the freedom of speech and above all of free competition. Unfortunately these stations rarely acknowledge the sources that they use. This is unfair to their counterparts.<<Suite>>

The Gambia

PURA launches Consumer 148-Helpline

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has launched its Consumer Affairs helpdesk under the aegis of PURA Act 2001. The Act was enforced with the objective of regulating the Telecommunications, Electricity, Water and Sewerage, Broadcasting and Transport sectors. <<Suite>>

Mobile Telecommunication – A Case of Competing Businesses

Healthy non-price competition among three companies in the mobile telecommunications sector has successfully elicited an animated and enthusiastic response from the companies’ clientele.

Much Needed Relief for Commuters?

The inauguration of a new bus company Unique Transport Company (UTSCO) has proven cost effective for commuters and schoolchildren alike. President Jammeh commented on the price hike of transport fares in the country and warned the business community to be reasonable in the pricing of basic commodities.<<Suite>>


Government to increase market access for SMEs – MOTI

The Ministry of Trade and Industry Ghana will soon be introducing a project entitled ‘Using the Media to Strengthen Business Advocacy in Ghana’. The project aims to improve the coverage of business financing and advocacy in the media and facilitate participation of SMEs in the domestic market.<<Suite>>

‘Donkomi’ of Ghana Telecom – Sell One Sell All

The sale of Ghana Telecom has become need of the hour with telecommunications becoming one of the most lucrative Industries in the world. The government’s disinvestment plan for Ghana Telecom is a strategic step towards increasing competition in the telecom industry.<<Suite>>

‘You Have to Speak Up When Competition Destroys You’

Expansion of Chinese products in the local market, insufficient legal safety nets and corruption are impeding the growth of SMEs in Ghana. Views of the Association of Ghana Industries and The Ghana Union of Traders fall on either extremes of this issue. <<Suite>>


Border conflict between Malian and Senegalese haulage contractors

Afraid of competition from Malian companies providing new transport options, haulage contractors from Senegal have declared war against their Malian counterparts.<<Suite>>

“The State wants to botch privatisation”

Representatives of the parliamentary group Sadi Parema called a press conference to outline their arguments against the enactment of certain laws, notably the privatisation of the CMDT which, according to them, has been botched.<<Suite>>

Governance of firms in Mali: Administrative unwieldiness is killing off our businesses

Because of administrative unwieldiness, bad financial and human resource management, lack of transparency, corruption and nepotism, Malian businesses are not competitive and do not contribute to the country’s development.<<Suite>>


House Goes After Diesel Cartel

A 26-man panel at the House of Representatives is on the verge of exposing a diesel cartel that has held the industry hostage for years. Major oil marketers have had a near monopoly in the supply of diesel and have for long determined its availability and price at will.<<Suite>>

Housewives Sweating for Kerosene

With the Federal Government yet to take a decision on extending the Petroleum Support Fund to kerosene and diesel, only a hand full of operators are enjoying the benefits through sole importation of the products.<<Suite>>

Competition by submarine cable operators may drive down call rates

Telecommunications subscribers in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, may in the near future be paying less for international calls courtesy a new investment drive, promoted by four sub-marine cable operators in the west coast region of Africa.<<Suite>>


Difficulties in inter-state transport: Mali and Senegal work together

Senegal and Mali are committed to finding a solution to the problems undermining the road transport sector between the two countries. They met yesterday for a meeting, which it is hoped will stimulate an easily enforced agreement.<<Suite>>

Technological innovation: the International Finance Launches SME “Toolkit” in Senegal

In order to help Small and Medium enterprises, the International Finance Corporation has introduced a toolkit to enable them to appropriate methods to set up, manage and develop a modern business.<<Suite>>


Revival of the phosphate sector too slow for trade unions

The incapacitated Phosphate sector in Togo, which is vital for this small West African country, has been in the process of revival for a year. The relaunch however is too slow for trade unions who have called a strike this week.<<Suite>>

The government raises the price of cement

The government has decided to adjust the price of cement across the country in order to combat speculation and end the illegal export of cement intended for national consumption. <<Suite>>

Following the seizure of tonnes of maize, Colonel Ouro Agadazi alleges fraud

Responding to the recent seizure of several tonnes of maize from women-traders in Sokodé following illegal practices, the Food Security Observatory exposes a wide network involved in fraud and unfair competition. They vow to expose the real culprits.<<Suite>>