Gambia recently hosted the 9th African Consumer Protection Dialogue Conference
under the theme: ‘Protecting Consumers in the Digital Age’ held at Kairaba.
The programme was organised by The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), The Gambia Public and Regulatory Authority (PURA) and United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The three days conference brought together Africa consumer protection and competition agencies to discuss the cross-border commercial activities that affect consumer interests and encourage cooperation among law enforcement agencies in Africa, U.S. and the rest of the world by setting way forward in creating innovations.
Janet Salleh-Njie, chairperson of the GCCPC said the conference seeks to continue conversation on the need to protect consumers and meet the growing demands and change landscape of the Digital Era.
“The theme is relevant in the development needs for Africa,” she said, adding that the information technology is an area that is moving forward and that there is need for transformation to protect the consumers through regulatory processes.
Mrs. Sallah-Njie further pointed out that the forum would encourage discussion on synergies, strategies for effective consumer protection; competition policies; information sharing on cross-border and commercial activities that affect consumers’ interest and further encourage cooperation among law enforcement agencies within countries.
Patricia Alsup, the U.S. ambassador to The Gambia said the FTC’s mission is protecting consumers by preventing anti-competitive, deception and unfair business practices and enhancing informed consumer choice and public choice of competitive process.
Through the dedicated teams of attorneys, economists and investigators, the FTC supports its counterparts worldwide to develop and enhance their policy, enforcement capacity, regulatory framework and agency effectiveness, she said.
She said the GCCPC’s promotion of healthy competitive markets and enhancement of consumer welfare for the benefit of economy is aligned with the FTC’ mission. “The digital revolution provides needed opportunities for consumer and business around the globe as digital consumers have access to an unprecedented choice of goods and services; have access to interest and engage in e-commerce.”
The digital revolution varied from tradition websites, search engine, mobile technology and social media. It provides easy access of product and services,” she said.
She acknowledges that e-commerce has promoted great potential to contribute to transformative and inclusive economic growth. But most African countries, she said, still face barriers and doing business and competition is limited.
She further added that The Gambia has made progress over the years with U.S. recognising that progress by restoring The Gambia’s eligibility for preferential access to the U.S. market through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).