African Press International (API)

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Kenya, Ghana top reformers – World bank applouds the two countries

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

By Alari Alare

Kenya is among the worlds top business reformers, with Mauritius being Africas easiest place to do business, according to a World Bank report.

Together with Ghana, Kenya is ranked among the top 10 reformers worldwide this year, due to significant advance in the aggregate ease of doing business rankings amongst countries in Africa.

Mauritius, with six reforms, tops the rankings in Africa on the ease of doing business and places 27th in the global rankings. Burkina Faso and Mozambique continue to become more business-friendly.

The report, “Doing Business 2008” issued by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) mostly assesses legal changes aimed at making it simpler to start a business, gain access to credit, and ease tax burdens.

It is the fifth in an annual series. In 2006/07, 24 African countries implemented 49 reforms.

In the regional rankings on the pace of reform, however Africa fell from third place to fifth, overtaken by South Asia and by the Middle East and North Africa.

The top 10 reformers globally including the two in Africa are, in order, Egypt, Croatia, Ghana, Macedonia, Georgia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, China, and Bulgaria.

Other 11 countries, including three in Africa, had three or more reforms: Armenia, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritius, Mozambique, Portugal, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan.

Reformers made it simpler to start a business, strengthened property rights, enhanced investor protections, increased access to credit, eased tax burdens, and expedited trade while reducing costs. Worldwide, 200 reformsin 98 economieswere introduced between April last year and June this year.

Kenya launched an ambitious licensing reform program, eliminating 110 business licenses and simplifying eight others. The changes have streamlined business start-ups and cut both the time and cost of getting building permits.

The program will eventually eliminate or simplify at least 900 more of the countrys 1,300 licenses. Property registration is also faster now, thanks to the introduction of competition among land valuers. The countrys private credit bureau now collects a wider range of data.

Lifted and published by API*APN

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