On 5th December 2021, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission joins the rest of the world, and leads Malawian traders, consumers and the general public in commemorating the World Competition Day. This commemoration dates back to 5th December 1980, when the United Nations adopted the international standard for competition laws called the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices commonly known as the United Nations Set of Principles and Rules on Competition. The set has guided a large number of developing countries in developing and enacting their competition laws.

This year’s World Competition Day is being commemorated under the global theme “Competition Policy for an Inclusive and Resilient Economy.” This theme has been deemed suitable for this country owing to the economic situation that has been triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has had an unprecedented adverse socio-economic impact worldwide, more severely in the Global South. The pandemic has vividly exposed and enhanced existing economic inequalities within and between countries mitigating the gains from globalisation. But as it is said, the worst crisis also presents the best opportunities. There is, thus, an opportunity to craft a development paradigm that results in a resilient and inclusive economy. In the current socio-economic environment, if competition policies are appropriately designed and effectively implemented, they can supplement other efforts in achieving an inclusive and resilient economy.

The increase in market power and concentration is perhaps the most significant challenge inhibiting economic inclusion during this period. As such, competition policy can be the most useful tool in addressing abuse of market power and concentration. It has been observed that during the pandemic, big enterprises have become bigger while small ones have suffered the most, and in some cases have even collapsed. Furthermore, the pandemic has resulted in a boom in e-commerce which has proved to be an essential tool for economic recovery and inclusivity. However, to achieve an inclusive digital economy, several identified competition concerns in the digital space need to be addressed. The increase in market power and concentration has also highlighted the importance of addressing and including issues of ‘buyer power’ under competition law and policy. This is particularly important from labour, farmer welfare and supply contracts perspectives. The Commission remains committed in regulating the market with the aim of preventing anti-competitive conduct and providing remedies to these challenges.

Therefore, as we commemorate this important day, the Commission urges all traders and persons not to engage in any anticompetitive trade practices; misuse of market power; and unfair trading practices, especially as we enter into the festive season, when many traders take advantage of unsuspecting consumers in so many ways. The Commission will not hesitate to take necessary actions to deal with traders that will be found engaging in prohibited practices under the Competition and Fair Trading Act.   

In case you experience any anticompetitive and unfair trade practices, please, call our  Toll-free Line 2489; or lodge a complaint on our website; or report on our Facebook page; or email and you will be assisted accordingly.

Apoche Itimu