Mauritius Still the Easiest Place to Do Business
For the third year in a row, Mauritius ranks highest in the region on the overall regulatory ease of doing business for local firms, according to the Doing Business report released by the World Bank on Thursday.
Globally, the country ranks 20th among 183 economies, and has announced further economic reforms to transform the Indian Ocean island into one of the top 10 most investment- and business-friendly locations in the world.
The World Bank report, the eighth in the series, says that between June 2008 and June 2009, governments in 117 global economies carried out 216 regulatory reforms focused at making it easier to start and operate a business, strengthening transparency and property rights, and improving the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures.
27 economies in sub-Sahara Africa implemented 49 regulatory reforms to improve their business environment between June 2009 and June 2010.
Rwanda, Cape Verde, and Zambia, were among the 10 economies worldwide that most improved in the ease of doing business for local firms in the past year. Rwanda was the second most improved country in the report, moving up 12 places in the global rankings from 70th to 58th, while Cape Verde inched 10 places forward from 142nd to 132nd.
Since 2005, Rwanda has implemented 22 business regulation reforms in the areas measured by Doing Business. Starting a business in Rwanda takes two procedures and three days.
Cape Verde, the region's second-most-improved economy in the past year, made starting a business easier by computerizing its licensing system, eased property registration, and abolished some stamp duties.
Zambia eliminated its minimum capital requirement, computerized customs declarations, and introduced an electronic case-management system in the courts, notes the report.
Ghana led the entire world in making it easier for businesses to obtain credit by establishing a centralized collateral registry and by granting an operating license to a private credit bureau that began operations in April 2010.
Malawi led in improving contract enforcement.
Burkina Faso made dealing with construction permits easier by cutting the cost of the soil survey in half and the time to process a building permit application by a third.
Côte d'Ivoire eased construction permitting by eliminating the need to obtain a preliminary approval.
Guinea-Bissau established a specialized commercial court, speeding up the enforcement of contracts.
Mali eased construction permitting by implementing a simplified environmental impact assessment for non-complex commercial buildings and eased property transfers by reducing the property transfer tax for firms from 15% of the property value to 7%. It further eliminated redundant inspections of imported goods, reducing the time for trading across borders, the report notes.
Niger reduced its corporate income tax rate and Sierra Leone made dealing with construction permits easier by streamlining the issuance of location clearances and building permits.
Sierra Leone lifted a moratorium on sales of privately owned properties. It replaced sales and service taxes with a goods and service tax.
Many of Africa's economies made it easier to import and export, a trend driven in part by regional trade integration efforts.
Since 2004, Doing Business has been tracking reforms aimed at simplifying business regulations, strengthening property rights, opening access to credit and enforcing contracts, by measuring their impact on 10 indicator sets - which also form the 10 stages of the business life-cycle applicable to the respective domestic small and medium-size enterprises.
The indicators include: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and closing a business.
This article was originally posted on Africa Venture Capital Platform