URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The visiting acting Vice President of the World Bank-IFC, Penelope Brook, and the Director of the IFC Corporation, Eastern and Southern Africa, Jean Philippe Prosper yesterday delivered the 2010 Doing Business Report to President Paul Kagame.
The two top officials who arrived in the country ahead of the official launch of the report paid a courtesy call on the President, at Urugwiro Village, to express their satisfaction and appreciation of Rwanda’s massive improvement in the rankings.
Speaking to members of the press shortly after holding discussions with Kagame, the two World Bank officials reiterated the Bank’s commitment to continue assisting the country in carrying out extensive reforms that will even propel the country higher in the next rankings.
They also commended the government for implementing legislative reforms aimed at easing doing business, adding that the ranking couldn’t have been achieved without good leadership.
“What we really wanted to do today is to congratulate the President for the very impressive jump that Rwanda has made in the Doing Business ranking,” said Brooks, who is in charge of Financial and Private Sector Development at the World Bank.
“I think we have mentioned before, we haven’t seen such a large jump in doing business in its history. It is also a chance for us to recognise the commitment of the Government and the people of Rwanda for working together to make Rwanda a better place to do business.”
She also noted that the discussions with the President centred on the challenges ahead as the country seeks to improve its ranking in the 2011 Doing Business Report.
The two officials hailed the path that Rwanda has taken and the progress registered over the last 15years.
“What is remarkable to everyone who comes to Rwanda — this is my first time here, it’s all a new experience for me — is that in a relatively short time Rwanda, has taken itself from one of the most painful place a country can be, to a country that is a leader and a model for other countries at different levels of development, and those struggling to come out of conflict,” said Brook.
“It is the breadth of its approach, the sustainable nature and the depth of its approach. These are things that impress us way beyond the things we measure in doing business.”
Brooks added that the Doing Business covers a small scope, but the Government of Rwanda has shown the commitment to do broader reforms that are aimed at improving lives of the people at all levels.
The IFC regional head also noted that what matters is the government doing the required reforms but with a vision of bettering the lives of the people. She added that the focus is not the ranking or the numbers, but poverty reduction and economic development in the long term.
“What Rwanda has engaged in is not just doing business, it has engaged in vast programmes of investment climate reforms and doing business is one of the elements.
“It is also doing improvements in other areas, but what is more important is how these reforms transform the lives of the common people,” said Prosper.
According to Clare Akamanzi, the Rwanda Development Board Deputy CEO/ Business Operations and Services, Rwanda’s focus now shifts to moving ‘closer’ into the double digit as well as consolidating the reforms already in place, while doing more reforms in other areas beyond the Doing Business report.
“In our reform work, we want to go beyond the doing business report because it is not everything to do with doing business and investment climate,” said Akamanzi, who had accompanied the officials.