The competition regulator in Kenya is probing the conduct of online food delivery and grocery platforms to inform its suggestions on regulatory and policy options, to bolster healthy competition, and enforcement of consumer protection. The probe follows complaints from consumers that they have been wrongfully charged for deliveries that never Reached their doorstep or that the quality of the food delivered was not up to standard.
A market inquiry by the Competition Authority of Kenya is likely to help the organization understand how data is used in digital markets, how customers are acquired, and how consumer protection issues should be addressed. The inquiry could also help the authority review if its regulatory framework can be applied in digital markets.
One potential issue that may arise with food delivery and grocery platforms is their impact on competition. For example, if there are a few large platforms that control an entire market, this could lead to reduced choice for consumers. Additionally, if platforms abuse their power by restricting or manipulating prices, this could also be harmful to consumers. In order to protect consumers and maintain fair competition, it may be necessary to regulate these platforms in some way.
One concern among the players in the Kenyan food delivery and grocery platforms business model is how they will compete with each other. The inquiry will identify players and services involved in this industry, look at their relationships with users, and assess the competition parameters (market power and conduct).
The regulator said that by understanding consumer protection concerns, it will be better placed to provide redress mechanisms for consumers shopping through the marketplaces. This will allow consumers to have their concerns addressed and hopefully receive a satisfactory solution.
Food delivery and groceries are becoming increasingly popular in Kenya as the internet and smartphone penetration continues to grow. Several online food delivery and groceries platforms, such as Uber, Jumia, Bolt, Glovo have emerged as major players in the Kenyan market. This growth is likely due to the uptake of services like online shopping and deliveries which make it easier for people to get their hands on food without having to leave their homes.
This coming together of African competition watchdogs is significant, as it signals the seriousness of concerns over the effects of global digital firms on competition and consumer welfare in Africa. The emphasis on transparency and scrutiny from these bodies could have a major impact on how these companies are perceived in Africa, and could play a role in encouraging greater competition among them.
The African Union (AU) is an organization composed of 54 member states located in Africa. The AU aims to ensure efficient enforcement of competition law and policy in digital markets, guaranteeing a competitive market and fostering the growth of African digital firms. The members of the AU include some of the most well-known economies on the continent, such as Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Gambia and Zambia. Together these countries form one of the largest antitrust organizations on Earth with a combined economy size estimated at over $2 trillion.