A new Doing Business report, released by the World Bank earlier this month, has both positive and negative takeaways for sub-Saharan Africa. While the report - which declared Singapore to be the most business-friendly nation out of the 183 surveyed – was upbeat about Africa’s improvement it did declare the African region to be the costliest and most complex environment for entrepreneurs.
The World Bank report did, however, find that 36 out of 46 sub-Saharan African countries had improved their business environment in the past year through to June 2011; significantly the highest number in terms of improvement since the study’s inception nine years ago.
“We were very excited about Africa’s improvement,” one of the authors of the report, Mikiko Imai Ollison, was reported as saying by Taiwan News. “Obviously, Africa has a lot to catch up on. It’s the region with the weakest legal institutions as well as the least efficient procedures.”
The top five countries in which to do business was unchanged from the previous report, coming in behind Singapore was another Asian giant, Hong Kong, followed by New Zealand, the US and Denmark.
The ranking is based on an assessment of 11 criteria:
- Starting a business.
- Dealing with construction permits.
- Access to electricity.
- Registering property.
- Obtaining credit.
- Protection for investors.
- Tax systems and payments.
- Cross-border trading.
- The enforcement of contracts.
- Resolving insolvency issues; and
- Labour issues.
In the past year 125 countries improved a whopping 245 business regulations, a 13% improvement. Morocco was the biggest gainer on the index, jumping to 94 from 115 thanks to a simplification of construction permits.
Sierra Leone flew the flag for sub-Saharan Africa, advancing to 141 from 150. Mauritius - at 23 - and South Africa (35) remain Africa’s highest ranked countries.
Bringing up the 10 lowest-ranked nations, Africa had the dubious honour of eight in the last 10 with Chad at rock bottom. Venezuela and Zimbabwe, were the only two countries (both in the bottom 10) to have made business more difficult to conduct over the last seven years.
< Back to Newsletter