23-24/05/23: 4th ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Mena Competition Forum
The 4th edition of the ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Mena Competition Forum will take place in Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) on 23-24 May 2023. This year's Forum will focus on discussing mergers and acquisitions, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of competition authorities in developing and least developed countries. In addition, it will examine best practices for planning and conducting market studies as well as concerns arising from abuse of dominance in digital markets.
Check out a playlist of our short training videos on key competition concepts - now in Arabic!
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In May 2022, Oman hosted the 3rd edition of the joint ESCWA-UNCTAS-OECD Forum for the Mena region. Competition authorities, government officials, experts and academics, both from within and outside the region, gathered to discuss the way forward for competition policy. The agenda included:
The Third Arab Competition Forum was organised by ESCWA, UNCTAD, OECD, the International Trade Center (ITC), the League of Arab States (LAS), and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Oman. Please check the event website for all information about our Forum. If you would like more information, please contact Lynn.Robertson@oecd.org.
Jointly organised by the UN-ESCWA, UNCTAD and the OECD, the webinar "Understanding Competitive Neutrality" aims to support the strengthening of competition law and policy across the Arab region.
The 2nd Joint UNESCWA-OECD-UNCTAD MENA Competition Forum took place on 23–24 March 2021. Due to the current sanitary crisis, the event was held virtually hosted by Egypt. The countries of the region shared their measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of competition agencies in the economic recovery process and provide updates on their latest competition developments, and reforms. Competition authorities from different parts of the world shared their best practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the three LOU partners presented their latest work and introduced their projects that are targeted towards the MENA countries.
This second Joint UNESCWA-OECD-UNCTAD MENA Competition Forum was built on the momentum of the 1st Forum to develop a regional multi-stakeholder platform that facilitates the co-ordination and implementation of competition-related initiatives both at the national and regional level. In the months to come, the organisations will produce a series of webinars on key topics, similar that the one held in July 2020.
The OECD, UNESCWA and UNCTAD held jointly the webinar "Competition law and policy during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflections in the Arab region" to explore the effects of the COVID pandemic. The Webinar was broadcast live on UNESCWA’s YouTube channel.
First joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum
Lebanon, 23-24 January 2020: The OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD kickstarted their new co-operation agreement with a 1st Joint Competition Forum on 23–24 January 2020, in Beirut, Lebanon at UN House. Drawing on the expertise of the three organisations, the Forum aims to become an annual knowledge-sharing platform on competition policy and enforcement for the MENA region bringing together high-level competition officials, policymakers, regulators, and the broader competition community.
Stakeholders can use the Forum to promote peer learning and dialogue, consensus-building and networking. Plenary topics addressed included competition and economic development; effective competition frameworks; fighting bid rigging in public procurement; and break out sessions that examined competition as it relates to employment, gender and good governance.
All meeting documentation (agenda, presentations, reference documents) can be downloaded in the UN-ESCWA website: here.
By signing a Letter of Understanding (“LOU”), the OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD join forces to help strengthen competition law and policy across the MENA region. There is broad consensus that competition creates significant microeconomic and macroeconomic benefits. Competition creates dynamic business environments, encourages innovation, as well as investment and offers better goods at lower prices thus enhancing productivity and consumer welfare. Enhanced productivity leads to faster growth for the economy as a whole. Competition can also help promote a cleaner and fairer business environment, in which success comes to those firms best able to meet their customers’ needs, rather than those with the best connections or the deepest pockets. A first meeting to introduce the LOU to the MENA countries was held in the margins of the OECD Global Forum on Competition (GFC) in 2018. A similar follow-up meeting is planned for the 2019 GFC.
Each of the three organisations brings its unique experiences and expertise to the LOU.
The OECD will contribute its storehouse of rigorous competition research, and analysis that draws on the peer exchanges that characterise the OECD, as well as the expertise of the Secretariat, garnered through bilateral projects.
Since 2014, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), has undertaken a combination of research, advisory and capacity-building activities on competition policy in the Middle East and North Africa region through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNCTAD draws on its extensive consumer protection and competition expertise both in and outside of the MENA region to help foster regional economic development as a prerequisite for facilitating regional and international trade through addressing the intricacies inherent in the institutional setup at the local and regional levels.