Many countries have weak systems and processes for monitoring competition. This paper considers whether this is due to a lack of understanding amongst policymakers concerning the nature of competition itself, the lack of capacity to implement competition policy, the failure of 'imported models' to work in the local environment, or the need to maintain the status quo. The paper is divided into six sections. The second section provides a brief review of the competing concepts of competition. The third section examines the development of competition policy in relation to the theoretical analysis of competition. The fourth section discusses the various donor perspectives on the role of competition policy and its relation to other forms of regulation in low-income countries. The fifth section discusses the issues relating to competition policy in low-income countries. The final section provides a summary of the main issues and points to the gaps in our understanding of competition and its regulation in low-income countries.