The light Magazine

Rwanda remains among top business reformers

Written by: Steven Nsamaza
Wednesday, October 26th, 2016, 3:06

A decade ago in Rwanda, it would take one 370 days to register a property transfer but the time has now dropped to 12 days. This is according to the latest World Bank’s annual report on the ease of doing business.


Doing Business 2017 report released on October 25, 2016 ranked Rwanda as the second easiest place to do business in Africa only after Mauritius and the 56th globally placing the country six places forward from the last report.


Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) commenting on the report said, “Rwanda over the past few years has focused on optimizing the service industry and capitalizing on investment opportunities that promote long term sustainable growth, owing to the significant advancement of 56th position from 62nd position globally.”


Out of the 190 countries the report looked at, a record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses.


The study by the World Bank focuses on several aspects that facilitate doing business in a particular economy including; the ease of starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.


Doing Business data points to continued successes in the ease of doing business worldwide, as governments increasingly take up key business reforms.


“Simple rules that are easy to follow are a sign that a government treats its citizens with respect. They yield direct economic benefits – more entrepreneurship; more market opportunities for women; more adherence to the rule of law,” said Paul Romer, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President. “But we should also remember that being treated with respect is something that people value for its own sake and that a government that fails to treat its citizens this way will lose its ability to lead.”


The Sub-Saharan Africa region where Rwanda lies accounted for over one-quarter of the 283 reforms in the past year. Rwanda alone closed the gap between Mauritius from 30 places last year to seven places. In Africa trailing from the third to fifth are; Botswana, South Africa and Morocco globally ranked at 72nd, 73rd and 75th respectively.


Rwanda significantly improved most in the service industry, was number two in credit financing and fourth in registration of property in the world.


The new report added gender measures to three indicators of starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts. Although the report found in most economies fewer women work in the private sector both as employers and employees, Rwanda has championed the gender disparity by empowering women in various sectors of the economy.


The public procurement regulations included as a pilot indicator in this year’s Doing Business report is among the latest areas that the government of Rwanda is improving like implementing a public procurement process online.


Rwanda still leads in the most common area of reform which is starting business that was made easy through online registration done in a matter of hours and post-registration processes. Globally, starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days compared with 46 days 10 years ago. However, this area with almost 600 reforms recorded since 2004, of these, 49 reforms was introduced during the past year. 


First launched in 2004, the Doing Business report has recorded a total of 443 reforms under the Paying Taxes indicator, the second highest number of reforms, with 46 reforms implemented in the past year.


Sub-Saharan Africa economies stepped up the pace of reform activity, with 37 economies undertaking a total of 80 business reforms in the past year, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. For the second consecutive year, Kenya was among the world’s top 10 improvers, while seven economies implemented four or more reforms each in the past year. However, 13 economies in the region stipulate additional hurdles for women entrepreneurs.


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