Mergers and acquisitions in Africa have shot up rapidly as investments worth billions of dollars continue to pour into the continent, it emerged at the weekend.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA) Competition Commission was last year notified with only 11 mergers but in January alone this year the commission was notified with three mergers, according to the pan-African law firm, Bowman Gilfillan.

And more deals have been struck since January this year, showing the intensity and rapidity with which mergers and acquisition are being rolled out in Africa.

Jean Meijer, partner at pan-African law firm Bowman Gilfillan and co-head of the firm’s competition practice, said COMESA is well-positioned to expedite investment in Africa by restructuring the merger and acquisition process.

Meijer added that many African countries still pay attention on merger control or “stopping market concentrations that put firms in a position to increase prices, rather than on restrictive practices.”

However, depending on how you look at it, Meijer said, South Africa is a mature jurisdiction with its “leniency policy,” exposing many cartels in a number of sectors, including the construction industry.

Meanwhile, there has been a strong response to Bowman Gilfillan’s third Africa Competition Law Seminar in Johannesburg last week.

The seminar, which Bowman Gilfillan is hosting, is expected to bring under one roof competition authorities and legal experts from many African countries.

This is aimed at trying to understand how competition laws are developed throughout the continent to better take care and reduce risk to doing business in this market.

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