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Development Account Projects

Strengthening capacities in developing countries for the effective enforcement of competition law to minimize constraints to economic productivity

Background:

Given the fact that efficiency, innovation and technological improvements are facilitated by a high level of competition, effective competition law enforcement can be an important factor in boosting productivity performance. It is thus important for all countries to evaluate the effectiveness of their competition policy-enforcement framework.

The needs in this area have been recognized on several occasions in recent years by the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, which recommended at its sixth session in 2004 that UNCTAD undertake voluntary and ad hoc peer reviews of national competition authorities. This recommendation was affirmed at the Fifth United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices in 2005 and the Accra Accord of 2008. The project builds on the experience of UNCTAD peer reviews in Jamaica, Kenya, Costa Rica, Tunisia, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. UNCTAD peer reviews provide an important means for countries to benchmark their performance to international best practices. The interactive peer review method promotes knowledge-sharing between the authorities at regional and international levels and also enhances informal cooperation networks. Notable features of the UNCTAD peer review are an atmosphere that is not interrogative or hostile and the strong element of South-South cooperation.

The countries that are tentatively identified for the biennium 2010-2011 are El Salvador, Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand. The peer reviews will be conducted in collaboration with the competition authorities in each country. The peer reviews will identify major procedural, administrative and legislative changes that might be necessary for the optimum functioning of the competition authority and the law. They will give insights into country-specific constraints, including political economic problems which have a bearing on the legitimacy of the competition law. On the basis of the findings and recommendations of the peer reviews, a comprehensive project proposal for further capacity-building will be prepared to assist the competition authority in soliciting earmarked funding from the government and other sources.

Objective:

To strengthen the capacity of national authorities to effectively enforce competition law and thereby promote the development of dynamic enterprises.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Comprehensive assessment of strengths and weaknesses of competition enforcement institutions and procedures
  • Enhanced capacity of competition authorities and policymakers to address enforcement weaknesses and improve stakeholder awareness

Implementation status:

Completed