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Africa Improves Business Regulation

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A new report by the World Bank Group has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa continues to record a large number of reforms aimed at easing the regulatory burden on local entrepreneurs, with 66 reforms adopted in the past year.  Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burundi are among 10 economies globally that are improving business regulation the most, according to the report.

The report titled Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises notes that of the 20 economies improving business regulation the most since 2009, nine are in Sub-Saharan Africa: Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea.

The report’s data shows that of 47 economies in the region, 31 implemented at least one business regulatory reform in 2012/13, with Rwanda implementing the most in the region, with reforms in 8 of the 10 areas tracked by Doing Business.

Three African economies made the biggest progress globally in an area measured by the report: Burundi in the ease of registering property, Benin in the ease of trading across borders, and Côte d’Ivoire in the ease of enforcing contracts.

“It is encouraging to see so many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa engaged in reforms aimed at reducing burdensome regulations and building up stronger legal institutions. In 2012/13, more than twice as many economies in the region reformed as in 2005,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group.

“Despite these achievements, more can be done to improve the quality of the rules underpinning the activities of the private sector, to ensure continued convergence toward the better practices seen elsewhere in the world”, Lopez-Claros noted.

For the first time, the report indicated that  Doing Business this year measures business regulations in South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, detailing that despite the challenges of creating laws and regulations from scratch, South Sudan has already passed a company law, tax law, and insolvency law.

Singapore tops the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.

In addition to the global rankings, every year Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business

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