Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa sets new record in busi­ness cli­mate re­forms

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Business News -

SUB-SA­HA­RAN Africa economies adopted a record num­ber of busi­ness re­forms for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, says the 15th an­niver­sary edi­tion of the World Bank Group’s an­nual Do­ing Busi­ness re­port, which mon­i­tors the ease of do­ing busi­ness for small and medium en­ter­prises around the world.

A to­tal of 83 busi­ness re­forms were car­ried out in the past year, sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous year’s record of 80 re­forms. This brings to a to­tal of 798 the num­ber of re­forms car­ried out in the past 15 years in the 48 economies of the re­gion mon­i­tored by Do­ing Busi­ness 2018: Re­form­ing to Cre­ate Jobs, re­leased to­day.

The re­gion is well rep­re­sented in this year’s global top 10 im­provers, based on re­forms un­der­taken, with Malawi; Nige­ria; and Zam­bia. Malawi, which im­ple­mented four re­forms, made sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in the area of Get­ting Credit by adopt­ing a new law that sets clear rules re­lated to bank­ruptcy pro­ce­dures and by estab­lish­ing a new credit bureau.

Nige­ria also im­proved ac­cess to credit by guar­an­tee­ing bor­row­ers the right to in­spect their credit data from the credit bureau and also made start­ing a busi­ness faster by al­low­ing elec­tronic stamp­ing of reg­is­tra­tion doc­u­ments. Re­forms in Zam­bia also in­cluded the strength­en­ing of ac­cess to credit by adopt­ing a new Mov­able Prop­erty Act and by set­ting up a new col­lat­eral reg­istry.

Much of the re­form ac­tiv­ity in the past year fo­cused on the ar­eas of Trad­ing Across Bor­ders and Start­ing a Busi­ness, with 15 re­forms each, fol­lowed by Deal­ing with Con­struc­tion Per­mits, where 14 re­forms ac­counted for 64 per­cent of the 22 re­forms recorded in this area glob­ally.

Zam­bia im­ple­mented a global au­to­mated sys­tem for cus­toms data (ASYCUDA), mak­ing it eas­ier for busi­nesses to trade across bor­ders, while An­gola and Mozam­bique made trad­ing across bor­ders eas­ier by im­prov­ing port in­fra­struc­ture.

Sev­eral economies, in­clud­ing Benin, Cabo Verde, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Nige­ria and the Sey­chelles in­creased the trans­parency of deal­ing with con­struc­tion per­mits by pub­lish­ing reg­u­la­tions re­lated to con­struc­tion on­line.

An­gola also made deal­ing with con­struc­tion per­mits eas­ier and less time-con­sum­ing by im­prov­ing its sys­tem for build­ing per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions.

Kenya im­ple­mented the most re­forms in the re­gion in the past year, with six. Among other im­prove­ments, Kenya made start­ing a busi­ness eas­ier by re­duc­ing the num­ber of pro­ce­dures re­quired to reg­is­ter a busi­ness, and re­duced the time for im­port doc­u­men­tary com­pli­ance by uti­liz­ing a sin­gle win­dow sys­tem.

Kenya also im­proved the re­li­a­bil­ity of elec­tric­ity sup­ply by in­vest­ing in dis­tri­bu­tion lines and trans­form­ers and by set­ting up a spe­cialised squad to re­store power when out­ages oc­cur and im­ple­mented an on­line plat­form (itax) for fil­ing and pay­ing cor­po­rate in­come tax.

Four other economies — Mau­ri­ta­nia, Nige­ria, Rwanda and Sene­gal — im­ple­mented five re­forms each dur­ing the past year.

Rwanda, which is sec­ond only to New Zealand in Reg­is­ter­ing Prop­erty, im­ple­mented on­line ser­vices to fur­ther fa­cil­i­tate prop­erty trans­fers. As a re­sult, it now takes only seven days to legally trans­fer a prop­erty ti­tle in Rwanda.

No­table re­forms in Sene­gal in­cluded the in­tro­duc­tion of stricter pre-trial hear­ing rules that led to a re­duc­tion of the time nec­es­sary to re­solve a com­mer­cial dis­pute.

These new rules have re­duced the time to en­force a con­tract from 925 days to 740 days.

Sene­gal also made start­ing a busi­ness and reg­is­ter­ing prop­erty less costly by re­duc­ing the no­tary fees for com­pany in­cor­po­ra­tion and low­er­ing the costs of trans­fer­ring prop­erty, re­spec­tively.

Mau­ri­tius, the re­gion’s top-ranked econ­omy, car­ried out four re­forms, which in­cluded out­sourc­ing the de­sign and con­struc­tion of sew­er­age con­nec­tion works, thus, speed­ing up the process of ob­tain­ing a con­struc­tion per­mit and im­prov­ing pro­cesses to fa­cil­i­tate cross bor­der trade.

Mau­ri­tius also made it eas­ier to trans­fer prop­erty by re­duc­ing the trans­fer tax, im­ple­ment­ing a com­plaint mech­a­nism and pub­lish­ing ser­vice stan­dards.

In the ease of do­ing busi­ness global rank­ings, Mau­ri­tius is in 25th place, fol­lowed by Rwanda (41), and Kenya (80) as the re­gion’s top ranked economies.

The Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa re­gion con­tin­ues to strug­gle in the area of Get­ting Elec­tric­ity. On av­er­age, ob­tain­ing an elec­tric­ity con­nec­tion takes 115 days in the re­gion, com­pared to the global av­er­age of 92 days.

“The re­form ef­fort in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa is sin­gu­larly worth cel­e­brat­ing, as the re­gion is be­set with myr­iad crises, in­clud­ing con­flict and vi­o­lence.

“We hope to con­tinue record­ing the re­gion’s suc­cesses in en­abling en­trepreneur­ship to ad­dress the chal­lenge of job-cre­ation, par­tic­u­larly for the re­gion’s mil­lions of young women and men,” said Rita Ra­malho, Act­ing Di­rec­tor of the World Bank’s Global In­di­ca­tors Group, which pro­duces the re­port.

High­lights of the re­gion’s economies’ suc­cesses over the past 15 years in­clude:

◆ Mak­ing it eas­ier to reg­is­ter a busi­ness has been a ma­jor fo­cus for the re­gion in the 15 years since Do­ing Busi­ness was first pub­lished, with 163 re­forms recorded in this area. In 2003, it took 61 days on av­er­age to start a busi­ness in the re­gion. To­day, it takes 24 days, which com­pare with the global av­er­age of 20 days. In Kenya, for ex­am­ple, the time needed to start a busi­ness has been more than halved from 60 days in 2003, to 25 days to­day.

◆ In the area of En­forc­ing Con­tracts, Rwanda re­duced the time to set­tle a com­mer­cial dis­pute from 395 days 15 years ago, to 230 days to­day. In Re­solv­ing In­sol­vency, Zam­bia in­creased the re­cov­ery rate from 17 cents on the dol­lar in 15 years ago, to 48 cents on the dol­lar to­day.

◆ The big­gest re­form­ers in the re­gion have been Rwanda, with 52 re­forms in 15 years, fol­lowed by Kenya with 32 re­forms and Mau­ri­tius with 31 re­forms.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.