The Competition Practice of Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s Coulson Harney office in Nairobi has been ranked as elite by global competition and antitrust publication, Global Competition Review (GCR).
The firm is the only one in Kenya to have achieved this recognition.
According to the GCR, Coulson Harney boasts the only dedicated competition team in Kenya, led by the partner, Joyce Karanja-Ng’ang’a.
In addition to merger control, the team specialises in advising on market investigations, a recent trend in Kenya as the Competition Authority begins to flex its muscles, and is advising the trade association of the cement industry on such an inquiry at present.
Karanja-Ng’ang’a explains that the growing trend towards conducting market inquiries in Kenya is a natural progression for the Competition Authority of Kenya (Authority) since the Competition Act came into force in 2011.
The last couple of years or so have seen the Authority build capacity as it prepares to effectively enforce the restrictive trade practice provisions of the Competition Act.
“The Authority in Kenya recently took an interesting view on anti-competitive practices when in 2015, it offered amnesty to trade associations in the financial services sector and the agriculture/agro-processing sectors. Essentially, associations operating in these sectors were given the chance to disclose any anti-competitive practices they were engaged in and to correct any such contraventions in exchange for immunity from prosecution. The amnesty did not, however, extend to conduct which was already the subject of an ongoing investigation, so the amnesty did not apply to the cement sector since the cement industry inquiry was already underway,” she notes.
The firm recently engaged with representatives of competition authorities from around Africa, including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Commission, at the Africa Competition Seminar it hosted in South Africa in February 2016.
“The COMESA Competition Commission indicated that it is preparing to begin enforcing the restrictive trade practices portions of its legislation and in this respect, it is in the process of negotiating MOU’s with competition regulators in COMESA member states ,” she concludes.