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The Africa in Focus series is an initiative of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) that creates a forum for African scholars to frame research questions and examine critical issues affecting the African continent in the 21st century. The series should inspire robust debate to help inform the orientation of public policy in Africa.

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Competitionin Africa

Competition in Africa
Insights from Key Industries

The nature of competitive rivalry, and the power and interests of large firms and their owners, is at the heart of how countries develop. Large firms shape the economy as these firms can make the investments required in productive capacity, provide the upstream inputs and services required by smaller businesses and, in many areas, are also the main routes to market. At the same time these firms tend to have market power if competition between them is weak. In crude terms, it is critical whether these firms are able to focus on extracting rents through market power, or whether the returns reward their effort, creativity and entrepreneurship. Competition authorities and economic regulators are critical institutions in restraining the market power of firms while at the same tie taking into account the need to incentivise investment.

The book maps out key issues in competition through four key industry studies across Southern and East Africa. It considers the nature and extent of market power, the development of large firms, their production, investment and the prices of products across countries. This takes into account the work of competition authorities in the different countries and the implications of industrial policies. The concluding chapter draws out critical implications for competition, regional integration and economic development. This fills a big gap as there are no similar publications relating to this important topic.

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