Africa has world’s worst business climate: WB

Johannesburg, October 4 :

Africa has the world’s worst business environment but is reforming rapidly to scrap bottlenecks, red tape and antiquated laws, a World Bank report stated today.

The Doing Business Report 2007 by the World Bank and private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, surveyed the business climate in 175 countries and rated Sub-Saharan Africa as the worst region in the world to conduct business.

But it said Africa, the world’s poorest continent, had made impressive strides in 2006 over the two preceding years when it ‘lagged behind all other regions in the pace of reform’.

Referring to a ranking of regions based on their reforms, the report added, “This year, Africa ranks third behind only Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the OECD high-income countries. Two-thirds of African countries made at least one reform and Tanzania and Ghana rank among the world’s top 10 reformers.”

Caralie McLeish, who co-authored the report, said both Ghana and Tanzania had slashed property, corporate and income tax rates and unveiled new laws for investor protection. But she highlighted the major obstacles faced by potential investors in countries such as Rwanda which had only one public notary.

“Business and registration go hand in hand,” she said. “Rwanda had only one notary for the entire country which worked very well for the colonisers. They changed this last year and now have

44 and are planning to have up to 400.”