Leading the pack: Rwanda is Africa’s best reformer in Doing Business 2014
For Rwanda, Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, which was released on October 29, 2013, brought good news. The country ranks 32nd out of 189 (from 52 last year) in the ease of doing business, second in Africa behind Mauritius. With reforms implemented in 8 indicators measured by Doing business - starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders and resolving insolvency – Rwanda is this year’s top reformer in Africa and second globally to Ukraine.
“Rwanda deserves to be congratulated for such a performance” said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, at the official handover of the Doing Business 2014 report to the Rwanda president, H.E. Paul Kagame. “It is a result of the government’s strong commitment to improve the country’s business environment compared to other economies” he added. For Valentine Rugwabiza, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Doing Business even allows to go beyond comparisons “DB allows us to track our own progress from a year to another, more than merely comparing our performance to that of other countries. This helps us to assess if we are delivering on our reform agenda”. This year, Rwanda overtook Georgia as the economy advancing furthest toward the regulatory frontier since 2005, with a total of 34 reforms – most in Sub Saharan Africa- over that period.
Rwanda’s performance in the Doing Business 2014 spearheads a strong delivery by Sub Saharan Africa. 66 of the 114 reforms in the world were implemented in the region. Also, 9 of the 20 economies improving business regulation the most since 2009 are in Sub-Saharan Africa, while three African economies made the biggest progress globally in an area measured by the Doing Business 2014.
Despite those encouraging results, challenges remain for the region. For Rwanda, a specific focus is on the Trading Across Borders ranking – where the country is 162nd. “We definitely need to continue working with our neighbors within the East African Community to improve on this indicator” said Valentine Rugwabiza. “For our SMEs, it will translate into faster and less costly business”.