Competition policy and regulation are essential components of economic systems at the national, regional and global levels. In Arab countries, however, heavily concentrated and inefficient economies, collusion, centralization of economic power among a few elites and general rent-seeking behaviour have aggravated challenges to the adoption and enforcement of competition and antitrust laws, thereby hindering the improvement of inefficient market structures and economic governance systems. The Arab region needs effective antitrust and competition laws and well-functioning market regulators to enhance the business environment, foster investments and improve economic performance and growth.
This report reviews the current state of competition policy and regulation in the Arab region. Noting that the adoption of competition laws in the Arab region is recent compared with other regions, the report identifies challenges to effective enforcement of competition and antitrust laws and market regulators, which include, among others, lack of adequate policy drafting, complexity of competition law, institutional structure, collusion and corruption. It stresses the importance of political economy reform in the Arab region, emphasizing that the adoption and enforcement of competition laws contribute to promoting inclusive growth and development and reducing poverty. The report offers policy recommendations taking into account existing initiatives of international partners and the different stages of competition and regulation policy development in the Arab countries.