Rwanda was on Wednesday officially declared the top global reformer in the Doing Business Report 2010 by the World Bank.
The report under the theme Reforming through Difficult Times is the seventh in a series of annual reports published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group.
Rwanda’s reforms were registered in seven areas, thrusting its ranking by 76 places to 67 from 143 in the 2009 Doing Business survey out of the 183 countries.
Major reforms include; starting a business, registering property, getting credit, employ workers, trade across boarders and closing a business legally.
Different stakeholder interviewed by Business Times acknowledged the impressive performance by the country but said there is no room for complacency.
Below are excerpts:
Joe Ritchie, CEO, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
This achievement is an indicator that Rwanda is taking reforms very seriously. It is a sign post that shows that Rwanda really means business.
In terms of impact, this is going to wake people up to the fact that these rankings are based on objective criteria. When the IFC is here doing /taking objective data and comes up with this report, I think this just tells people that it is real.
A lot of people read things in the press and wonder whether they are hyper or not .But this is an objective report and people should take it seriously ,because no country in the world has ever moved this much and here is a country in Africa doing so.
It is a strong statement. The way forward is for the country to declare a war on delay.
I think if we can have a national campaign and focus on one thing, this is how we can get the biggest gains in making it easier to do business in the next year. A one or two year campaign on addressing the problem of delays is needed.
Jacob Diko Mukete, Resident Representative African Development Bank
Rwanda is a pace setter in Africa and has made commendable progress during the last year towards creating an environment that supports private sector growth, especially by significantly eliminating the man-made obstacles to doing business.
We commend the government for pursuing and deepening bold market oriented reforms.
These reforms along with the government’s efforts to develop its economic infrastructure for private sector development and bridge the skills gap in science, technology and innovation will increasingly attract private sector investment.
It will also pave the way for Rwanda to achieve its ambition to become a regional logistical and services hub. Sustaining these reforms over the medium-term will ensure that Rwanda remains on the high growth trajectory and reduces poverty significantly.
Eugene Torero, Deputy Commissioner General, Rwanda Revenue Authority
This is a big achievement for the country. Though for this year, there were no major reforms done in paying taxes. It is going to be our priority of reform in subsequent years to come. We are reviewing the tax laws and rates.
The way forward for us is to be consistent and remain committed to implementing the reforms.
Nathan Lloyd, CEO, DN International
This means alot for us in the private sector because it is a source of encouragement. It is a big encouragement but there is still room to improve.
Now that Rwanda is ranked at 67 we hope that next year we will push it a bit more.
The biggest benefit is that the government is able to listen to the private sector, because the private sector is what is going to drive the economy forward.
As a developer / constructor, there is still need for improvement in building permits in terms of the timeframe it takes to get it.
An improvement there means that the developer or contractor starts the project sooner and this means increasing employment opportunities.
François Kanimba, Governor National Bank of Rwanda
Its unbelievable making such progress in just one year. It is the first time in history that a country has done this. However there is still room for improvement. The way forward for us is to keep the momentum and improve and aim at achieving a single digit ranking.
Patrick Kagabo, CEO, MAXINET GROUP LIMITED
This is a big achievement because not only will it create awareness for the country.
It will also create more attention for Rwanda which means more investment that will lead to job creation and in the end wealth creation.
This kind of trend can have a positive impact that can change totally the economy of the country.
For us in the private sector, the major reforms have been helpful because it is helping cut the red tape and doing business is becoming easier.
It also means that the investment you do as an investor will come faster because there is less frustration, less red tape between the time you invest and the time you expect your returns on investment.
It is a positive feeling for any body who wants to do business. It gives motivation and confidence to invest.
Maurice K Toroitich, MD, KCB Rwanda
This is a remarkable achievement by the government and people of Rwanda in general as this is a reflection of the strong will and desire to get better all the time.
Rwanda is a learning country and when you submit to learn, there is no doubt that performance improves.
This ranking is easy to relate with on the ground given that the government through its agencies has been quite active in engaging with the business community to identify unnecessary bottlenecks for doing business and the level of execution in terms of policy and legal reform is commendable.
Jan Bade, First Secretary, Economic Development, Netherlands Embassy
This is a great achievement for the country because making it easy to do business is very important for economic growth.
The reforms are visible, when you want to register a company; it takes you a couple of hours. This means businesses are increasing, creating opportunities for young people to get work and the economy in turn grows.
The reforms will allow businesses to grow and become more important and on the other hand it will mean more competition which I think is something this country needs, not only internal competition but Rwanda has to compete with the rest of East Africa.
If it can start with domestic competition it will means that the country can compete with the rest of the world.