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Ryan Hawthorne is an economist specializing in competition and economic regulation.
He is a Senior Research Associate at CCRED and co-founding Director of Acacia Economics. His focus areas include competition/antitrust economics, telecommunications regulation, and telecommunications strategy.
Ryan is part of the team currently advising the Competition Authority of Kenya on carrying out a market inquiry into pricing and conditions of access to USSD channels for the provision of mobile financial services in Kenya. He is also part of the team advising the Competition Authority of Kenya on phase II of a market inquiry into Kenya’s banking sector.
Ryan has extensive experience in the economics of regulation and competition. This includes leading the economic analysis for a number of major competition cases for the Competition Commission of South Africa, including in the telecommunications, dairy, news media, forestry, grocery retail and automotive components sectors. He has also been engaged in strategy development in the telecommunications sector. In addition, he has undertaken a number of research projects, including a critical evaluation of Eskom’s proposed tariff increases for the Minister of Economic Development and an assessment of the Competition Commission of South Africa’s banking inquiry. Ryan worked on the complaints against Telkom brought by various internet service providers. He was also part of the team working on the complaints against MTN and Vodacom regarding call termination rates and consulted on the Telkom/BCX merger for a private party.
Prior to his current positions, Ryan worked at Neotel in a number of capacities including leading projects on expanding broadband networks. Before working at Neotel, he was a senior economist at the Competition Commission of South Africa. This followed work as an economic expert on competition cases with the specialist economic consultancy Johannesburg Economics, of which he was a founder.
Ryan holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand and a BBusSc (Hons), University of Cape Town. He has presented a number of papers at conferences and has several publications.
Recent projects and advice provided in relation to the economics of competition and regulation, and in relation to financial services, including in South Africa
South Africa (2016). Developed an ICT sector strategy for the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.
South Africa (2016). Provided expert advice and analysis in relation to the Coca-Cola / SAB merger in relation to bottling plants.
Nigeria (2015). Ryan was part of a team providing economic research services in respect of competition issues in Nigeria, including a brief analysis of the financial services sector.
South Africa (2015 - ongoing). Currently providing expert advice in relation to a complaint in the retail services sector.
South Africa (2015 - going). Currently providing expert advice to ICASA in relation to the distribution of spectrum
Kenya (2015 - ongoing). Currently providing economic research and analysis for the Competition Authority of Kenya in relation to a market inquiry into the banking sector in Kenya.
Kenya (2015 - ongoing). Part of a team providing research and advice on a market inquiry into Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) for the Competition Authority of Kenya, which relates to the use of telecommunications services for mobile financial services.
South Africa (2015 - ongoing). Part of a team of economists advising the Competition Commis-sion of South Africa on economic aspects of the Healthcare Inquiry into the private healthcare market in South Africa.
South Africa (2014 - 2015). Provided expert advice to the Independent Communications Au-thority of South Africa (ICASA) on the Vodacom / Neotel proposed merger.
South Africa (2014 - 2015). Part of a team that provided research and advice in relation to liti-gation involving the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) on NERSA’s regulatory decision on natural gas tariffs.
South Africa (2014). Developed a review, together with Sha’ista Goga, of the outcomes of the Competition Commission’s banking inquiry, held between 2008 and 2012, for CCRED.
South Africa (2014). Developed a follow-up review, together with Sha’ista Goga, of the out-comes of the Competition Commission’s banking inquiry for the Competition Commission SA.
South Africa (2014). Part of the team that advised a client on the competition effects of a po-tential merger in the clothing and textiles sector.
South Africa (2013 - 2014). Reviewed the telecommunications sector in South Africa including the sector overall and specific regulatory interventions (including call termination and local loop unbundling), as part of a CCRED project funded by the Economic Development Depart-ment (Government of South Africa), and provided a range of recommendations for policy & regulatory reform.
Senior Specialist: Corporate Strategy, Neotel (November 2012 to August 2013)
At the Strategy team at Neotel, Ryan’s responsibilities included work on special projects, including work on strategy and business cases for large infrastructure investments, as well as research on a range of fields. Research topics included Information and Communications Technology market size and scope, competitor analysis, scenario analysis and industry analysis. Ryan also worked on strategies for large enterprise accounts. During this period Ryan also supported the regulatory team at Neotel on various issues, including broadband policy.
Senior Specialist: Economic Regulation, Neotel (April 2010 to November 2012)
While part of the regulatory team at Neotel, Ryan was responsible for the economic content of submissions to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa and the Department of Communications. The topics of these submissions included call termination rates, local loop unbundling and spectrum policy. Ryan also worked on various research projects within the strategy team during this period.
Senior Analyst, Policy and Research Division, Competition Commission of South Africa (2007 - 2010)
As a senior analyst in the Policy & Research Division (P&R) at the Competition Commission, Ryan’s responsibilities were to:
- Manage and co-ordinate research and policy development;
- Manage and co-ordinate case analysis;
- Actively contribute to the strategic planning of P&R and the Commission;
- Assist the divisional manager in the management and administration of P&R;
- Contribute in building capacity for research and knowledge of the economics of competition and regulation;
- Manage junior staff within P&R;
- Fulfil responsibilities in advising regulatory authorities and participating in regulatory proceedings of any regulatory authority; and
- Participate in local and international networks relevant to competition economics.
At the Competition Commission, Ryan has worked on a number of horizontal and vertical mergers, abuse of dominance cases, and restrictive horizontal and vertical practices cases in a range of sectors, including the forestry, telecommunications (fixed and mobile), food processing, agriculture, fast moving consumer goods, packaging, furniture raw materials, print media, chemicals, road building, gambling, veterinary medications, and electrical goods sectors. Ryan has also made inputs into the telecommunications regulatory authority’s regulatory processes, in processes to amend the Competition Act, 1998, and in electricity pricing policy development. Ryan also contributed to submissions by the South African competition authorities to OECD round table discussions.
Director, Johannesburg Economics (2005 / 2006)
As a director of Johannesburg Economics, Ryan worked on the following competition law related cases and other economic analyses (two cases not in the public domain are omitted):
- Sasol / Engen merger (oil and fuel industry);
- Komatiland / Bonheur merger (timber and sawmilling industry);
- Independent Newspapers / Mandla Matla abuse of dominance complaint (testified as an expert witness before the Competition Tribunal);
- Hadeco / The Bulb Man abuse of dominance complaint (agricultural products industry);
- Ansac / Botash horizontal prohibited practices complaint (chemicals sector);
- Sasol / Nutri-flo abuse of dominance complaint (fertilizer industry);
- Harmony / Mittal abuse of dominance complaint (steel industry);
- Telkom / Business Connexion large merger (telecommunications);
- Analysis of the impact of trade on poverty in the household consumables sector;
- Analysis of the impact of a commodity price boom (see reference below);
- Two competition economics-related articles in the Trade and Industrial Policies (TIPS) Monitor and Oxford Analytica
Independent consultant (2005)
As an independent consultant in 2005, Ryan worked on the following projects:
- A variety of international trade-related projects (for TIPS);
- Policy dialogue workshop series held at NEDLAC (for TIPS);
- The project management of the preparation of a series of sectoral analyses for the Presidency and the ComMark Trust in 2004 (for TIPS);
- An analysis that fed into a provincial growth and development strategy (for TIPS).
- An overview of Mpumalanga provincial trade and investment data, using large online trade databases (for TIPS);
- Assistance in the analysis of commodity pricing issues for the DTI in 2005;
- A sector strategy for a local municipal council. This project involved developing a broad overview of a growing market and providing suggestions for strategic policy interventions to foster the development of the market; and
- A study on import-parity pricing in the aluminium sector in 2005 for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and
- The Harmony / Gold Fields merger analysis (gold mining industry).
Research and publications
Ryan has published a number of conference papers and presented in a number of fora. Ryan’s peer reviewed publications include a journal article in the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences and a book chapter in The Development of Competition Law and Economics in South Africa