Rwanda makes an impressive jump in World Bank ‘doing business’ rankings

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Rwanda has emerged as the top reformer in building a secure business environment in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2010’ report, officially unveiled at the World Bank Country office. President Paul Kagame welcomed the report and called for more efforts to aim higher in the next rankings.

In starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, employing workers, protecting investors, trading across borders and closing business, Rwanda registered the best massive reforms worldwide. The country also emerged as the most consistent reformer, moving from 143 to 67 in the rankings followed by Mauritius, which is 17th overall, from 24th position in the previous report.

Penelope Brook, the acting Vice President, Financial and Private Sector Development at the World Bank-IFC has applauded Rwanda and other post-conflict countries, like Liberia and Sierra Leone, for major improvements in easing doing business. “We have seen 67 reforms in 29 Sub-Saharan economies this year and we get to celebrate the fact that we have two African countries in our top ten reformers. Rwanda is the top reformer worldwide. It jumps 76 places in the ranking to number 67 and by reforming in seven of the areas that we cover. That is the biggest jump that we have ever seen in the Doing Business Ranking. This calls for a celebration,” Brook was quoted as saying.

Open for business in 2 days

Economic experts say Rwanda’s labor law and company law reforms passed this year, helped simplify the start-up process from 14 days to just 2 days, and reduced the steps and time taken to register property, was responsible for the country’s new ranking. The new company law also improved access to credit and protects investors. “This achievement is a result of extensive efforts by the government in the last few years aimed at establishing a stable legal framework, streamlining procedures, reducing bureaucracy and improving service delivery in order to encourage domestic and foreign investments,” said the Trade and Industry Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa.

But despite the praise generated by the reforms, both potential investors and business executives in the landlocked central African nation claim “business is still hampered by slow government decision-making, erratic policy implementation, and the latent suspicion of some politicians and bureaucrats toward foreign investment,” indicate the Financial Times. Experts have also argued that the rankings do not take into consideration capital flows barriers, that more often than not affect business morale and also have an impact on costs.

Rwanda’s government under Paul Kagame has sought to stabilize and advance the country’s economy by promoting Rwanda as a business and investment destination, and has since driven the growth of the private sector and generated wealth. Rwanda focused on investment, service delivery and access to credit and simplifying taxation procedures, and the 2010 World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report has been a recognition of these policies.

Rwanda Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, welcomed the report as a positive move. “On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, I want to acknowledge and welcome the results of Doing Business 2010 Report. This year we have done a major overhaul of our legal framework by modernizing key business laws, following the best laws worldwide,” said Makuza. The country has set a target of being among the top ten in the next Doing Business rankings.

On the world stage, the Rwandan legislature records the highest number of women. Half of the legislature is made up of women. Corruption is low, while the work ethics of government officials have been described as exemplary. “This is a landmark achievement in the progress of a great country, which is becoming stronger by the day under the leadership of President Kagame.” said Tony Blair, who acts as an unpaid advisor on governance and describes Rwanda as “one of Africa’s most remarkable success stories”. Rwanda has made great strides in streamlining regulations to reconstruct an economy that was ruined by the 1994 genocide.

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