Sub-Sahara Africa implements business regulatory reforms – Report

A World Bank report has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) had the highest number of business regulatory reforms in 2013/14 worldwide, with 74 per cent of the region’s economies improving their business environment for local entrepreneurs.

Released on Wednesday, the report “Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency,” said Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo were among the top 10 countries worldwide, having improved business regulations in the past year among the 189 economies covered.

It said all countries in SSA had improved the business regulatory environment for small and medium-size businesses since 2005, with Rwanda implementing the most reforms, followed by Mauritius and Sierra Leone.

Melissa Johns, Advisor of Global Indicators of the the World Bank Group said: “Sub-Saharan African economies have come a long way in reducing burdensome business regulations.”

Our data shows that Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the largest number of regulatory reforms making it easier to do business in the past year, with 75 of the 230 documented worldwide.”

The report stated that Senegal implemented regulatory reforms in six of the 10 key areas tracked by Doing Business, a global high for the year, adding, “Senegal is gradually narrowing the gap with best practices seen elsewhere”.

Citing year 2005 as an example, the report said “completing every official procedure to import goods from overseas took 27 days. Today it takes 14 days, the same as in Poland.”

It said this year, for the first time, Doing Business collected data for a second city in the 11 economies with a population of more than 100 million. In Nigeria, the report analysed business regulations in Kano as well as in Lagos.

It stated that Ghana made dealing with construction permits less time-consuming by streamlining the process to obtain a building permit. And it made trading across borders easier by upgrading infrastructure at the port of Tema.

In areas of business regulatory reform, it improved in dealing with construction permits, trading across borders and ranked 70 in the ease of doing business.

In addition, the ease of doing business ranking is now based on the distance to frontier score. This measure shows how close each economy is to global best practices in business regulation. A higher score indicates a more efficient business environment and stronger legal institutions.

The report however stated that: “Yet despite broad regulatory reform agendas, challenges persist in the region, where business incorporation continues to be costlier and more complex on average than in any other region.” GNA

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