The International Finance Corporation has recently issued its annual assessment of how easy or difficult it is to do business around the world. Africa comes out as the hardest, but it is beginning to change
In the past there has really only been one way to describe the climate towards business almost anywhere in Africa - distinctly hostile. Mountains of forms to fill in, complex, sometimes contradictory regulations and bored, uninterested civil servants.
But, says one of the authors of this report, Sylvia Solf, change is on the way.
Sylvia Solf: ‘Over the past three years this trend has been reversing and this year, two thirds of the reforms globally have been taking place in developing countries and in Africa more than half of the countries of the continent have reformed. This is really a very new development and it’s a very exciting development.’
Regulations are being scrapped. One stop shops at which businesses can be registered are being set up. Many forms can now be accessed online.
At the frontline of these reforms is the island of Mauritius, which is already as easy to operate in as many developed countries. Rwanda, Liberia and Burkina Faso have also made real progress to improve the climate for business.