Competition increases productivity, innovation, and economic growth, which makes it a vital factor for job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable development in the Arab region. Competition also generates consumer welfare by protecting consumers from abuses of market power and unfair commercial practices. The Arab region is in need of effective competition and consumer protection laws and policies, and of strong institutions to enhance the business environment, attract investment and improve economic performance and growth.
ESCWA promotes dynamic markets and facilitates cooperation among its member States, regional entities and other partners working in the field of competition and consumer protection. ESCWA also facilitates regional capacity-building through the annual Competition Forum for the Arab Region, as a central platform for knowledge exchange within the region. Moreover, ESCWA strengthens harmonized national competition reforms in line with international standards, while taking into consideration global economic trends and challenges, so as to establish a regional competition framework that reflects the development needs of the Arab region and contributes to the modernization of Arab trade integration and to inclusive sustainable development and growth.
A partnership with UNCTAD and OECD was formalized through a letter of understanding signed in 2019.
ESCWA contributed to the Arab Annual Competition Forum for the Arab Region with a technical material entitled “Impact of competition reforms on trade policy”. It also had a substantive contribution to UNCTAD ministerial meetings and to the OECD Global Forum on Competition. ESCWA will also build a portal on Arab business environment legislation, including competition provisions and legislation.