Washington, D.C., September 9, 2009—In a year of fast-paced reform, 67 regulatory reforms were recorded in 29 of 46 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, finds Doing Business 2010: Reforming through Difficult Times, the seventh in a series of annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank. And for the first time a Sub-Saharan African country—Rwanda—was the world’s top reformer, based on the number and impact of reforms implemented between June 2008 and May 2009.
Mauritius, ranked 17 of the 183 economies covered by the report, is the top Sub-Saharan economy for the second year in a row in terms of the overall regulatory ease of doing business. It adopted a new insolvency law, established a specialized commercial division within the court, eased property transfers, and expedited trade processes.
Rwanda, another repeat reformer, reformed in seven of the 10 business regulation areas measured by Doing Business. It now takes a Rwandan entrepreneur just two procedures and three days to start a business. Imports and exports are more efficient, and transferring property takes less time thanks to a reorganized registry and statutory time limits. Investors have more protection, insolvency reorganization has been streamlined, and a wider range of assets can be used as collateral to access credit.
“In times overshadowed by the global financial and economic crisis, business regulation can make an important difference for how easy it is to reorganize troubled firms to help them survive, to rebuild when demand rebounds, and to get new businesses started,” said Penelope Brook, Acting Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development at the World Bank Group. “The report also shows that some postconflict economies in the region are actively improving the regulatory framework for private sector-led development.”
Liberia, the second-fastest reforming economy in the region, eased procedures for business start-up, reduced fees for construction permits, and sped trade with a new one-stop center. Sierra Leone introduced a company law that strengthened investor protections, enhanced access to credit, and provided for the reorganization of troubled firms. It also established a one-stop center for business registration.
Burkina Faso reformed in five of the 10 areas covered by the report, including simplifying procedures for construction permits, improving contract enforcement, streamlining property registration, easing business start-up, and expediting trade. Mali also reformed in five areas. Other leading reformers were Angola, Cameroon, and Ethiopia; and South Africa lowered taxes on domestic firms.
This year, there were 4 new reformers among the global top 10: Liberia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Moldova. Others include Rwanda, Egypt, Belarus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Colombia. Colombia and Egypt have been top global reformers in four of the past seven years.
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycles, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, skill level, or the strength of financial systems.
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), 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.