Unlocking Africa’s Potential through Competition Policy

Unlocking Africa’s Potential through Competition Policy

African countries have much to gain by encouraging open and competitive markets, particularly as a means to spur sustainable economic growth and alleviate poverty. Yet in reality, many markets have low levels of competition. More than 70% of African countries rank in the bottom half of countries globally on the perceived intensity of local competition and on the existence of fundamentals for market-based competition. Monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies are relatively prevalent compared to other regions. In more than 40% of African countries, a single operator holds over half the market share in telecommunications and transport sectors.

This lack of competition has drastic costs. Retail prices for 10 key consumer goods – white rice, white flour, butter and milk among them — are at least 24% higher in African cities than in other main cities around the world. While these higher prices affect all consumers, the poor are hit the hardest. A new report from the World Bank Group and the African Competition Forum, Breaking Down Barriers, estimates the gains from tackling anticompetitive practices and reforming policies to enable competition. For instance, reducing the prices of food staples by just 10%, by tackling cartels and improving regulations that limit competition in food markets could lift 500,000 people in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia out of poverty and save consumers more than $700 million a year.

Cartels – agreements among competitors to fix prices, limit production or rig bids – are a serious cause of low competition levels in African countries and have been found to affect products in a variety of sectors, including fertilizers, food, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, and construction services. Evidence reveals that consumers pay 49 percent more on average when firms enter into these agreements. “There have been a notable number of countries adopting competition laws in Africa, and this bodes well for growth and development. However, while the benefits of competition are already clearly observable in Africa, there is still considerable effort required to ensure effective implementation of competition laws and policies across the continent,” notes Tembinkosi Bonakele, Chairperson of the African Competition Forum headquartered in South Africa.

In addition to explaining the costs of low levels of competition, Breaking Down Barriers highlights the important progress many African countries are making in improving competition policies. For instance, the number of countries and economic communities like EAC, COMESA and ECOWAS with competition laws has nearly tripled in 15 years. There are now 25 functional competition authorities in Africa and budgets for those authorities increased by 39% between 2009 and 2014.

“In the past few years, several countries have stepped up their enforcement capacity and implementation of competition laws. For example, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia have taken recent actions to block uncompetitive agreements in a variety of sectors,” explains Martha Martinez Licetti, the report’s co-author and Lead Economist for the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “Looking to the future, there is a need to prioritize resources and use the powers and tools available to competition authorities more effectively in order to continue raising the relevance of competition policy within the broader development agenda.”

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Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning: Role of gas heaters in your home

Pugh Heating Air Conditioning The role of gas heaters in your home

Natural gas furnaces are a trend these days and a lot of homeowners prefer to use it according to Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning. Apparently, it is currently the most popular home heating option in the market. Its efficient characteristic can also reduce the impact on the environment since its byproducts are only water vapor and small amounts of carbon dioxide.

Moreover, natural gas has barely any emissions of any home heating fuel. Gas heaters need venting to your home’s chimney in order to eradicate the carbon dioxide made from your home but make sure to understand the exact venting requirements building and safety codes in your area first.

Natural gas as a heating fuel also has its disadvantages, including it is flammable, can be toxic if a large amount is inhaled, the exhaust produced when burning natural gas known as carbon monoxide is poisonous, and some rural and urban areas don’t have access to the current network of underground pipes.

Fire departments often recommend the use of a carbon monoxide detector because this kind of gas is completely odorless. On the other hand, gas companies add a scent to the natural gas to make leaks noticeable. Looking for trustworthy heating systems on the web is simple, just avoid fraud services online. Consider security firms that offer service protection in purchasing items online. Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning can also help you with some alternative heating systems like boilers or hot boilers, water heaters, and garage heaters.

Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning: Reasons to have air conditioning in your home

Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning Reasons to have air conditioning in your home

When looking for a trustworthy organization, avoid fraud services online because fraudsters often disguise themselves as representatives from a genuine company and offer their services to you in exchange of your personal and financial information.

Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning can perform proper air conditioning service and installation for your home and can help you decide which AC installation is the best for your particular property. You can also schedule installing air conditioning to your home before summer actually begins to their team. This specific home improvement service has great benefits for your home and listed on the following are the reasons why you should have one today:

Even though it is scorching hot outside, you can still have a cool temperature inside your home with an air conditioner that is connected to a programmable thermostat. You can enjoy its steady and cool temperature throughout the day. A new AC system ensures that you will not suffer from the strong heat outside during the summer season.

Air conditioners don’t only provide a cool and comfortable temperature for your home, but it can also purify your indoor air. It delivers all your cooled air through an air filter before air conditioners can actually provide climate controlled air to your home. This air filter will remove dirt, dust, and other allergens while purifying your indoor air.

Some people often get irritated with a hot temperature which also makes them hot-headed in an instant. Because of this, the introduction of air conditioning has been their lifesaver. You can easily and quickly cool your home with a single push of a button where you can enjoy its cool temperature and relax your mind at the same time. You can also avoid heat-related illnesses during summer’s strong heat with air conditioning. In case you have further inquiries, Pugh Heating & Air Conditioning will provide you with more information about air conditioning maintenance and installation.

Eric Hamilton Marsden on how to take care of bespoke furniture

Eric Hamilton Marsden - how to take care of bespoke furniture

Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden suggests the use of coasters and mats when placing hot or cold drinks, plates and crockery on the furniture. Discoloration can happen to the furniture if such items were placed directly on it for too long.

Use protective pads on semi-permanent items

Decorative items that are permanently sitting on your furniture such as bowls, figurines, ornaments and vases should have protective cork or felt pads underneath them in order to avoid any differential discoloration.

Dust regularly

You can clean the bespoke furniture by using a lightly moistened cloth and then use another cloth such as soft microfiber cloth to dry it out. This way, you can maintain the good condition of your furniture.

Clean spillages promptly

Once spillages are left alone for a long period of time, it will be impossible to remove them and could cause discoloration. Quickly remove the spillages of drinks or food on your furniture with a clean and lightly moistened cloth, and then use a clean dry cloth to dry the surface.

Don’t use silicone spray polishes

After a certain period of time, aerosol spray polishes that contain silicone will have a bad effect on the finish of bespoke furniture, so it’s better not to use them on your furniture.

Avoid abrasive or chemical cleaners

When your bespoke furniture needs careful attention, it’s better to consult the maker of your furniture than using abrasive cleaners. Such cleaners will just remove a thin layer of the material once applied. Stain removers and solvents shouldn’t also be used on your furniture.

Control the temperature

Maintaining the temperature as well as the humidity in your home at normal levels over the year is recommended to keep the furniture in good condition.

Eric Hamilton Marsden Tips for buying bespoke furniture

Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden Tips for buying bespoke furniture

Finding the ideal bespoke furniture for your home can be simple as long as you have the patience in doing so. If you’re going to be a smart buyer, then you can save money during the entire process and find high-quality furniture that meets all your needs all at once. The following are some basic tips provided by Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden to help you find the best bespoke furniture for your home.

Find reviews

The internet is vast and it can cater all the basic information a person is looking for. When searching for the best bespoke furniture, it’s easier to search online for reviews to avoid fraud. You can find reviews for most any type of furniture in every brand. Before spending your money on a certain piece of furniture, it would be better if you can obtain important information about it and compare its results to other furniture. Since reviews are a good source of information to find a dependable company, ensure that your chosen company is indeed trustworthy at the end and offers quality products that suit your budget.

Be consistent

Don’t rush things because anything worth having is worth waiting for. Don’t stop until you are satisfied even if it will take some more time. Your goal is to have a home that makes you feel happy and comfortable, so don’t settle for less and have the furniture that meets your standards. Be consistent in looking for the best bespoke furniture for your home.

Compare prices

As previously stated, comparing significant data, including prices, of various pieces is often necessary, especially if you are on a tight budget. By carefully assessing your records, you can choose the right furniture where you can save up to 50 percent.

Make sure to remember those tips mentioned above to shop great bespoke furniture and buy pieces that you really want. Be a smart buyer and save a little bit of money during the entire process. Put in mind that finding the perfect bespoke furniture for your home requires patience and consistency. Eric Earl Hamilton Marsden believes that you will achieve a unique home with bespoke furniture and the team wishes that you will find the best pieces for your place.

Axia Consultants: Tips for attending exhibitions

Axia Consultants Tips for attending accounting exhibitions

Before the exhibition

1. Draw up a list of objectives for visiting the exhibition. Define what you wish to achieve eg to get an overview of certain types of software, see the latest software functionality, or to meet certain vendors.

2. Plan your visit. Make a shortlist of exhibitors, vendor demonstrations, educational or other sessions you wish to see. Don’t consider spending all day in vendor software demonstrations – they may end up sounding and looking alike and you may end up being totally confused. Plan a balance of visiting stands, meeting vendors, discussing your requirements, as well as attending demonstrations.

3. Mark the locations of the stands / demonstrations you wish to see on an exhibition layout planner so you know your way around the exhibition floor and can save time / avoid getting lost when you are there.

4. Attending with colleagues can help to determine which software to investigate further. However, plan in advance who is attending, who shall see what and when. Aim to cover all items, with colleagues splitting up to cover different parts of the exhibition.

5. Determine how you will get to the exhibition – so that you arrive on time and are able to complete everything. If you are attending for more than one day and need overnight accommodation, book well in advance of the date(s) required.

At the exhibition

6. Follow your visit plan. Ensure you cover the areas you wish to see. Don’t get side-tracked once at the exhibition – you can use any time left over at the end to visit other stands which look interesting.

7. If attending with colleagues – use the opportunity to quickly obtain a large amount of information and to network / create new contacts for later use. Work the exhibition – don’t just stay together or treat as a day out of the office!

8. Take a copy of your outline system requirements* with you – to refer to and / or raise key points with vendors / exhibitors.

9. Take plenty of business cards – to hand out to exhibitors and to save filling in their forms with your details.

10. Take a pen and small note pad for jotting down key items, demonstration notes, points of interest, contacts etc.

11. Attending exhibitions can be tiring. They can be hot (particularly in poorly ventilated demonstration rooms) and you may do a lot of walking. Be prepared – wear comfortable clothing and take regular refreshments throughout the day.
After the exhibition

12. Review the information you have obtained and write up notes / ideas as applicable. Discuss with colleagues. Then determine which software vendors you wish to follow up on and investigate further.

IOSCO: Reports on transparency of firms

IOSCO - reports on transparency of firms that audit public companies

The final report discusses “audit firm transparency reporting,” which is a practice “employed by audit firms to be transparent in their own reporting to investors and other stakeholders about the firm itself, notably, with respect to firm governance and elements of their system of quality control for their financial statement audits.”

According to the final report, an audit firm transparency report should contain information that is:

“[C]lear, useful and presented in sufficient detail to be meaningful to the different groups of likely users of the report.”
“[F]act-based and not potentially misleading.” “[U]nbiased and not oriented toward marketing or selling services.”
“[C]oncise, specific to the firm and avoids the use of boilerplate language.” “[T]imely, accurate and complete.”
“[B]alanced in communicating the audit firm’s output measures of audit quality in addition to any input measures.”
“[S]ufficient in terms of explaining the limitations of the indicators of audit quality, including that the indicators may not be comparable across audit firms.”

For more information, see the press release and final report on IOSCO’s Web site.