The World Bank has released its annual Doing Business report, with the burgeoning Sub-Saharan Africa region coming out on top as the year’s best business reformers
Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 5 of the world’s top 10 most improved reforming economies during 2013/2014, according to the World Bank’s new Doing Business report.
The report—titled Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency—ranks Central Asian country Tajikistan as the world’s best reformer over the past year, though it is closely followed by the Sub-Saharan nations of Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal.
The remaining five most improved countries are made up by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. In total, the 10 countries implemented 40 regulatory reforms towards making it easier to do business.
Overall, the World Bank measured 189 economies worldwide between June 2013 and June 2014, documenting 230 business reforms. 145 of these were aimed at reducing the complexity and cost of complying with business regulation, while 85 were aimed at strengthening legal institutions.
Baring in mind that more than 80% of the economies covered by Doing Business in the past year experienced an improvement in their ‘distance to frontier’ score (economies are now evaluated based on how close their business regulations are to the best global practices), such positive action taken all over the globe—and particularly in the developing world—is indicative of how changing attitudes are leading to better business environments and attraction of much needed investment.
While Tajikistan was the nation which made the biggest advance in regulations during 2013/2014 thanks to improvements in several areas, Sub-Saharan Africa is undoubtedly the biggest winner in the latest report.
Aside from providing five of the top 10 improvers, the region also accounted for the largest number of regulatory reforms making it easier to do business—75 of the 230 worldwide. What’s more, approximately 70% of the economies in the region carried out at least one reform. This figure was only surpassed by Europe and Central Asia, which had the largest share of economies implementing at least one regulatory reform (85%).
However, if the shift in different economies’ improvement rates between the 2014 and 2015 reports is anything to go by, Sub-Saharan Africa—as well as the other countries which make up the top 10 in this year’s ranking—will have to continue reforming if they are to maintain their places. Among this group, only Côte d’Ivoire featured among the top 10 reformers in last year’s Doing Business report.
It is also notable that only four among these 10 grade in the top 100 of the overall Ease of Doing Business 2015 ranking, with Ireland ranking highest at 13. As the World Bank asserts in its report, this goes to show that “despite serious efforts in regulatory reform in the past year…being recognized as top improvers does not mean that these economies have exemplary business regulations. Many of the 10 top improvers still face many challenges on their way to international best practices in business regulation.”
You can read the whole Doing Business 2015 report here:
by Aled Bryon, The Worldfolio staff writer