On 14 January 2013, the Competition Commission for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (“COMESA”) became operational. This creates a new supranational merger control regime in Africa which companies will now have to navigate.
The new regime contains a number of potentially significant issues for dealmakers, including broad jurisdictional thresholds with extensive reach to foreign companies, a potentially long review period, and very high filing fees.
The COMESA’s Competition Commission (CCC) has also started to enforce general competition law provisions which govern anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance. Businesses with operations in the region will now need to take this further set of competition law rules into account as part of their compliance programmes.
The COMESA regime adds significant complexity to transactions and business dealings with a potential impact in Africa, and companies should carefully consider the impact of the new regime going forward.