4 African Countries Make Top-20 Improvers in Doing Business
Four African Countries; Kenya, Nigeria, Togo and Zimbabwe made the recently published World Bank’s Top-20 Improvers in Doing Business 2020.
Economies that made the list were selected based on the number of reforms and on how much their ease of doing business score improved. It also featured economies that implemented reforms that made it easier to do business in three or more of the 10 areas included in this year’s aggregate ease of doing business score. In other words, countries, where regulatory changes are making it more difficult to do business, are subtracted from the number of those making it easier. The improvements in their score are calculated by using comparable data that capture data revisions and methodology changes where applicable.
Here are the four African countries (in alphabetical order) that made the World Bank’s top-20 improvers in doing business:
Kenya made regulatory changes concerning dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes and resolving insolvency. Kenya made dealing with construction permits more transparent by making building permit requirements publicly available online and by reducing fees. In Nairobi, the utility improved the reliability of its electricity grid by investing in substations, automatic air break switches and ring main units. Registering, modifying and cancelling security interests held in Kenya’s collateral registry can now be done online. Paying taxes is also more streamlined now that employer-paid social security contribution payments and returns are filed electronically. Meanwhile, legislation in 2018 strengthened minority investor protections by giving shareholders the final say on the election and dismissal of the external auditor. Kenya made resolving insolvency easier by improving the continuation of the debtor’s business during insolvency proceedings.
Nigeria made setting up a business easier by operationalising a new electronic platform that integrates the tax authority and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The CAC also upgraded its name reservation platform and, in Kano, there is now an electronic platform for registering business premises online, eliminating the need to appear in person. In Lagos, land administration was made more transparent following the digitisation of cadastral plans in a geographic information system; digital copies of cadastral plans are now easily obtainable. Nigeria also made getting electricity easier by allowing certified engineers to conduct inspections for new connections. Initiatives also made commercial litigation of smaller cases more efficient. The Chief Judges in Lagos and Kano issued practice directions for small claims courts introducing pre-trial conferences and limit adjournments. Finally, customs integrated more agencies into its electronic data interchange system, and port authorities launched an e-payment system, speeding up both exports and imports.
Togo overhauled business regulations across five areas measured by Doing Business. The elimination of a requirement that limited liability companies have their articles of association drafted by a notary made it easier to start a business. Transparency in the construction permitting process was improved after Togo issued a circular mandating that the required documents, pre-approval and fees be made available online. Getting electricity became less costly following a decision by the electricity company to reduce the cost of new connection works. The property transfer registration process was streamlined—the submission of land transfer documents and payment of the registration fee are now completed in one step at the same office. Togo improved access to credit information by expanding the coverage of the credit bureau, Creditinfo Volo, and beginning to distribute data from utility companies.
Zimbabwe made regulatory improvements in five areas measured by Doing Business. Zimbabwe made starting a business easier by improving online name search and reducing the Harare Municipality business licensing fee. More frequent sessions by the municipal building commission in Harare led to faster approval of construction permits. Likewise, the deeds registry implemented an internal tracking system allowing applicants to track their applications throughout the property transfer process. Finally, Zimbabwe introducing a new reorganization procedure, allowing creditors to vote on the reorganization plan, granting debtors the possibility of obtaining post-commencement finance and improving access to credit by giving secured creditors absolute priority during insolvency proceedings.
View entire list of the Top-20 Improvers in Doing Business 2020 here
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