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Middle East – Africa


It has been noted that the price volatility of essential food items in South Africa is under the watchful eye of the competition authority in South Africa. This is after legal interventions intended to guard against price increases during the pandemic were repealed when the National State of Disaster ended in early April 2022. At the same time, businesses that operate in the Consumer Goods and Retail sector are dealing with ongoing supply chain disruption.

The termination of the National State of Disaster in South Africa means that regulations and directions that were made to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in terms of the Disaster Management Act are effectively repealed. Part of the interventions made by the government were Competition Law block exemptions issued by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition in South Africa to aid government programs designed to fight COVID-19. As such, any agreements or concerted practices between parties in the affected industries, which may contravene the Competition Act, will no longer be exempted from the Act’s provisions.

The Minister of Employment and Labour in South Africa has recently published three important legal developments affecting South African employers and employees – the Draft National Labour Migration Policy and Employment Services Amendment Bill, the Code of Practice for Managing Exposure to Sars-CoV-2 in the Workplace 2022, and the Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassment in the Workplace.

Slapping a colleague at an event is grounds for dismissal in most jurisdictions. Employee conduct at social gatherings and events generally does not escape the reach of their employer’s right to discipline and terminate for cause. In South Africa, the recently published Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassment in the Workplace (“Code”) guides employers and employees in managing harassment at work and clarifies that the use of physical force or power is a form of harassment, albeit not its only manifestation.

The South African Competition Commission recently released its Economic Concentration Report, which highlights patterns of concentration and participation in the South African economy. The Report includes details on the Commission’s power to launch market inquiries into highly concentrated industries, as well as its increased authority to impose structural remedies on businesses in these sectors.

The government of Egypt has now expressly recognized the production, storage and export of green hydrogen and green ammonia among the areas falling within the state’s economic development strategy. It has also passed a decree that would allow green hydrogen and green ammonia projects to benefit from a wide range of state support under the country’s existing Investment Law No. 72 of 2017, including tax incentives. This is a key development for Egypt’s hydrogen economy.

On 10 March 2022, the National Data Management Office (NDMO) published for consultation a draft of the executive regulations (“Regulations”) to the Personal Data Protection Law, promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/19, dated 09/02/1443H (PDPL). The consultation invites comments on the Regulations and will close on 25 March 2022. The timing suggests that the publication of the final version of the Regulations is likely to occur later than the previously advised date of 23 March 2022.

Over the last ten years, Africa’s trade growth has been one of the worst among the major global regions, mostly due to falling commodity prices, competition, inadequate foreign exchange liquidity, regulatory challenges and access to trade finance. Although trade finance remains a popular activity among banks, the participation rates have decreased. Despite this persistently large trade finance gap, trade remains a key driver of Africa’s social and economic development. As a result, development finance institutions such as the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank have sought to provide solutions to boost intra-Africa trade.

To highlight data security and privacy laws and developments that are already in place, or in progress, in Africa, the new Baker McKenzie Africa Data Security and Privacy Guide outlines information on country-specific data privacy and security laws in 11 countries in Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe