For the first time, Rwanda has emerged in the top 50 countries in World Bank Doing Business Report, alongside Mauritius. The two sub Saharan Africa countries are the first to make it in that pool.
The World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business Report titled ‘Reforming to Create Jobs’ was released on Tuesday afternoon.
Rwanda ranks 41st on the ease of doing business, compared to 56th position in last year’s report. The report shows that the country implemented five reforms making it easier to do business throughout the year.
Among notable reforms is the improved construction permit process by increasing quality control during construction with the introducing risk-based inspections. The country made registering property easier through online services to facilitate registration of property transfers.
Rwanda strengthened minority investor protections by making it easier to sue directors, clarifying ownership and control structures and requiring greater corporate transparency. Reforms in fiscal policies also made paying taxes easier by establishing an online system for filing and paying taxes.
The report also indicate that Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by making judgments rendered at all levels in commercial cases available to the general public through publication on the judicial website.
Rwanda Development Board’s CEO, Clare Akamanzi said that the 2018 report validates efforts made in facilitating investors and small businesses in the country. She however acknowledged that more needs to be done if Rwanda is to maintain or improve in the ranking.
“I think the worst performance is in getting electricity and construction permits, which we are going to focus on,” she said.
Mauritius is ranked 25th globally and the first in sub Saharan Africa, having implemented four reforms. Asked why Rwanda has stayed behind Mauritius for another time, RDB’s CEO noted that “probably they are working harder and doing a few things that we are not doing.”
The report however, reveals that Mauritius has among the least cumbersome business regulations in dealing with construction permits and paying of taxes.
In the East African region, Kenya is ranked 80th, Uganda 122nd, Burundi 164th whereas Tanzania comes at the 137th position.
The lowest ranking economies in the Sub Saharan Africa are Somalia (190) South Sudan (187) and the Central African Republic (184).
The World Economic Forum’s 2016-2017 edition of Global Competitiveness Report pointed out access to financing as the top most hindrance to doing business in Rwanda.
While addressing journalists, Minister for Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka recognized that accessing finance is indeed a major setback and reforms in the financial sector are crucial.
“For instance if you’re talking about corporate long term financing…we need to reconsider some reforms because 80 percent of our financial institutions are banks, which provide short term loans, which doesn’t allow for long term investments.”he observed.
You can read the full report and its datasets on www.doingbusiness.org