Standing at the 19th position globally, Mauritius has been credited as the easiest place to do business in Africa on the Doing Business report released by the IFC and World Bank yesterday. South Africa, Tunisia and Rwanda with 39, 50 and 52 positions followed suit as the economies with business friendly regulations on the continent.
The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 185 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. The Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises report, which is the 10th edition, examined regulations that apply to businesses in an economy during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and protecting investors. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 185 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors.
African countries rated on the list include, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Zambia, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria which were positioned at 59, 64, 87, 94, 109, 120, 121, and 131 respectively.
Other are Swaziland – 123, Ethiopia -127, Tanzania-134, Lesotho-136, Madagascar-142, Liberia -149, Burundi – 151, Mali-151, Togo-156, Malawi-157, The Comoros -158, Burundi-159, Cameroon -161, Gabon – 170, Angola – 172, Benin -175 and Guinea-178 and Democratic Republic of Congo at 181 position globally.
At the bottom of the list of the 185 economies examined are; The Central African Republic, Chad and The Republic of Congo with 185, 184, and 183 positions.
The report, however, attested that African economies made consistent progress in improving business regulation in the reviewing year. According to the report, of the 50 economies making the most improvement in business regulation for domestic firms since 2005, 17 are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Doing Business is about smart business regulations, not necessarily fewer regulations. We are very encouraged that so many economies in Africa are among the 50 that have made the most improvement since 2005 as captured by the Doing Business indicators,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group.
“The report, finds that from June 2011 to June 2012, 28 of 46 governments in Sub-Saharan Africa implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business—a total of 44 reforms. Burundi, with four reforms, ranks among the 10 economies worldwide that improved the most in the past year across three or more areas measured by Doing Business—the only low-income economy on the list.”
African economies that have improved the most since then (June 2011 to June 2012) include Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Angola, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
With Rwanda 52nd out of 185 countries, the country retained its reputation as the best business destination in east and central Africa region. The report singles out Rwanda as having consistently improved since 2005, implementing more than 26 business reforms. The East African nation made an amazing business recovery from 2008, when it was ranked 150th globally.
Nevertheless, the report concluded that despite those achievements, much more can be done to enable African economies to build a strong and competitive private sector. The region’s average ranking on the ease of doing business is 140 out of 185. Mauritius and South Africa are the only African economies among the top 40 in the global ranking.
On the global scene, Singapore continues to take the lead as the easiest place to do business with the most business-friendly regulation for the seventh consecutive year. Others on the top ten list of the easiest place to do business include: Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.
Topping the list of countries that recorded the biggest improvements in the ease of doing business over the last year were Poland, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Greece, Serbia, and Kazakhstan.