Middle East North Africa Competition Forum


2nd joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum

  23-24 March 2021  


The 2nd Joint UNESCWA-OECD-UNCTAD MENA Competition Forum took place on 23–24 March 2021. Due to the current sanitary crisis, the event was held virtually hosted by Egypt. The countries of the region shared their measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of competition agencies in the economic recovery process and provide updates on their latest competition developments, and reforms. Competition authorities from different parts of the world shared their best practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the three LOU partners, presented their latest work and introduced their projects that are targeted towards the MENA countries.

This second Joint UNESCWA-OECD-UNCTAD MENA Competition Forum was built on the momentum of the 1st Forum to develop a regional multi-stakeholder platform that facilitates the co-ordination and implementation of competition-related initiatives both at the national and regional level. In the months to come, the organisations will produce a series of webinars on key topics, similar that the one held in July 2020. Stay tunned for more!

More information on the UNESCWA event page

Read the information note

 2021 MENA forum call out


The OECD, UNESCWA and UNCTAD held jointly the webinar "Competition law and policy during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflections in the Arab region" to explore the effects of the COVID pandemic. The Webinar was broadcasted live on UNESCWA’s YouTube channel.


» Watch the webinar

» Download the flyer: English Arabic

» See the presentations in the UNESCWA website: here

Watch the webinar replay

First joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum 

Lebanon, 23-24 January 2020: The OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD kickstarted their new co-operation agreement with a 1st Joint Competition Forum on 23–24 January 2020, in Beirut, Lebanon at UN House. Drawing on the expertise of the three organisations, the Forum aims to become an annual knowledge-sharing platform on competition policy and enforcement for the MENA region bringing together high-level competition officials, policymakers, regulators, and the broader competition community. Stakeholders can use the Forum to promote peer learning and dialogue, consensus building and networking.  Plenary topics addressed included competition and economic development; effective competition frameworks; fighting bid rigging in public procurement; and break out sessions examined competition as it relates to employment, gender and good governance.


All meeting documentation (agenda, presentations, reference documents) can be downloaded in the UN-ESCWA websitehere.

» See the Summary of the discussions




By signing a Letter of Understanding (“LOU”), the OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD join forces to help strengthen competition law and policy across the MENA region. There is broad consensus that competition creates significant microeconomic and macroeconomic benefits. Competition creates dynamic business environments, encourages innovation, as well as investment and offers better goods at lower prices thus enhancing productivity and consumer welfare. Enhanced productivity leads to faster growth for the economy as a whole. Competition can also help promote a cleaner and fairer business environment, in which success comes to those firms best able to meet their customers’ needs, rather than those with the best connections or the deepest pockets. A first meeting to introduce the LOU to the MENA countries was held in the margins of the OECD Global Forum on Competition (GFC) in 2018. A similar follow up meeting is planned for the 2019 GFC.

Each of the three organisations brings its unique experiences and expertise to the LOU.

The OECD will contribute its storehouse of rigorous competition research, and analysis that draws on the peer exchanges that characterise the OECD as well as the expertise of the Secretariat garnered through bilateral projects.

Since 2014, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), has undertaken a combination of research, advisory and capacity-building activities on competition policy in the middle east and north africa region through the lense of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNCTAD draws on its extensive consumer protection and competition expertise both in and outside of the MENA region to help foster regional economic development as a prerequisite for facilitating regional and international trade through addressing the intricacies inherent in the institutional setup at local and regional level.


OECD Competition Roundtables

Fighting bid rigging in public procurement 

More information on OECD Competition Global Relations

More information on OECD work in the MENA region

UN-ESCWA home page

UNCTAD home page

More OECD work on competition


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