Mauritius, Rwanda easiest places for business in Africa

KIGALI, Rwanda

Mauritius, Rwanda and Morocco were ranked as top easiest economies to do business in Africa, according to the 2020 Doing Business report released by the World Bank on Thursday.

The annual ranking assesses 190 countries on the basis of 10 indicators such as starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property and access to credit.

New Zealand and Singapore are the two easiest places to do business in the world, according to the report.

The annual rankings are geared at spurring reforms to attract investment and generate jobs.

Mauritius ranked 13th globally while Rwanda is now 38th globally.

But Rwanda maintained first position in the East African Community while Togo and Nigeria were named among the top 10 most improved countries.

The Middle East and North African region emerged among the strongest in terms of making business-friendly reforms but remained among the most difficult places for accessing credit.

The 2020 report also saw Rwanda’s global ranking drop nine positions to 38th from 29th last year.

The Rwanda Development Board explained that the country dropped mainly due to the World Bank’s ‘sudden’ change in its assessment methodology.

The new methodology introduced the assessment of “an active stock exchange” which was added into the protecting minority investor’s indicator in January this year.

According to the World Bank, for an economy to be seen as having an active stock market, it has to show at least 10 companies listed and trading equities.

The Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) was officially launched in 2011 and has had eight company listings since.

This abrupt change led to a 100-point drop in the indicator scores on “protecting minority investors” compared to last year’s report where Rwanda ranked 14th globally.

Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, in a statement said government remains committed to its vision of a private sector-led economic transformation as well as making bold and ambitious steps to improve the country’s business environment.

“While we acknowledge this year’s Doing Business Report, we note with great disappointment the abrupt change in methodology which has affected Rwanda’s global rankings negatively. We will continue to engage the World Bank on this issue,” said Akamanzi.

According to the report, Rwanda ushered in reforms which strongly impacted its regulatory business environment.

The reforms were made in starting a business, where government exempted newly formed small and medium-size enterprises from paying trading license tax for their first two years of operation.

Reforms were also made in dealing with construction permits, where time to obtain a water and sewage connection was reduced among others.

Somalia lags in overall ranking again, while Eritrea, Libya, South Sudan and the Central African Republic also emerged among the worst-performing economies.
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