The 2019 edition of the World Bank's Doing Business ranking for assessing the quality of the business environment was published last Wednesday, October 31. Djibouti, Togo and Kenya are the African countries that are making the greatest progress through the adoption of economic easing measures.
Governments are starting to reform, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2019 report published on 31 October. The ranking takes into account various elements in the 190 countries studied to calculate sub-indexes, such as the ease of setting up a business, obtaining a building permit, credit or electricity, crossing borders with goods, paying taxes or settling a trade dispute.
The record of 290 reforms achieved two years ago was beaten this year with a peak of 314 reforms in 128 economies. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly notable in this ranking, with 40 of its economies having completed 107 of them.
New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark are still the top of the class and Somalia, Eritrea and Venezuela the bottom. The first African country, Mauritius, ranks 20th; the second, Rwanda, 29th and the third, Morocco, 60th.
Results that support strong catch-up optimism for the African continent
Africa is behind, but it is moving to attract investment and help its small and medium-sized enterprises. The most reformist country in the world is Afghanistan, but Djibouti is on its heels, with a gain of 55 places compared to the 2018 ranking. Togo and Kenya moved up 19 places and Côte d'Ivoire 17.
"These impressive results make me optimistic for the future of Africa," said Shanta Devarajan, Director for Development Economics and Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank. The giants of China and India are not the only ones to dramatically improve their business climate. Small countries like Djibouti and even countries made vulnerable by conflicts like Côte d'Ivoire are also doing so.
Correlation between training and the success of reforms
The report also examined the importance of training in the success of reforms. Statistics show that the average time for customs formalities is 34% shorter in countries where customs officers have received adequate training than in countries where it does not exist.
"It is all very well to decide on reforms," explains Mr. Devarajan, "but they are not just about the minister who made them. Officials responsible for implementing them must be made aware of their interest and given the training they need to succeed. We found a real correlation between this training and a country's progress in the Doing Business ranking. But one last ingredient is needed to improve the business climate: public support for reforms that can only be achieved through communication through the media, including when the media are critical! »