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African Economies Make Consistent Progress in Improving Business Regulation, Report Finds


In Washington, D.C.:
Nadine Ghannam
Phone: +1 (202) 684 0832
E-mail: nsghannam@ifc.org

Sub-Saharan Africa
Lucie Blyth   +221 77 740 4969                


Aby K. Toure   +1 (202)473-8302
E-mail: LBlyth1@ifc.org                        
E-mail: Akonate@worldbank.org


Lilongwe, October 23, 2012—A new report by IFC and the World Bank finds that of the 50 economies making the most improvement in business regulation for domestic firms since 2005, 17 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s report marks the 10th edition of the global Doing Business report series and over the life of the report, Africa has consistently recorded a high number of reforms. Rwanda particularly stands out as having consistently improved since 2005. A case study in this year’s report features Rwanda, which since 2005 has implemented 26 regulatory reforms as recorded by Doing Business.

The report, Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises found 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, ranked 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.

In Malawi, trading across borders became easier thanks to improvements in customs clearance procedures and transport links between the port of Beira in Mozambique and Blantyre. At the same time, Malawi made dealing with construction permits more expensive by increasing the cost to obtain the plan approval and to register the property. Malawi also introduced a mandatory pension contribution for companies. Malawi was ranked 157, slipping 12 places from 145 in 2012.

Yet, despite the achievements by most of the continent, 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.

Doing Business is about smart business regulations, not necessarily fewer regulations,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “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.”

African economies that have improved the most since then include Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Angola, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe.

Globally, Singapore topped the global ranking on the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year. Joining it on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulation were Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.

About the Doing Business report series
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses 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. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 10th edition of the global Doing Business report series. For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit www.doingbusiness.org. Join us on Facebook.  

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.