Rwanda most' 'business friendly' in E Africa: Rwanda has once again led the continent in achieving a high rank in the World Bank's Doing Business 2012 report. This has been the result of several years of targeted reforms in virtually all spheres of economic activity. But, as Valerie Noury reports, more still needs to be done.

Author:Noury, Valerie

Based on the evidence of the last few years, it is clear that the government of Rwanda has realised that if the country is to generate much-needed economic growth and attract investment, it must carry out important reforms and tackle inefficiencies across the board.

President Paul Kagame has been relentless in his efforts to these ends, instituting one bold reform after another. These reforms have tackled virtually all aspects of economic policy - from land reform to easing the entry and cost of doing business, to the free movement of workers in the East African community.

The World Bank has once more recognised these considerable efforts, ranking Rwanda as the most business-friendly nation in East Africa in its widely respected Doing Business 2012 report. Rwanda is now the third-easiest place to do business in the sub-Saharan Africa, after Mauritius and South Africa.

Globally, Rwanda jumped an impressive 13 places to take 45th place and is the world's second-top reformer (i.e. it gained the second-largest number of places) in creating a business-friendly environment. This success represents a continuation of recent good performance, with the country moving up an impressive 76 places, from 143rd in 2009 to 67th in 2010, making it the unchallenged emerging market champion in this respect.

Its position in the 2012 report, which is in effect a seal of approval from the world's top financial institution, is expected to have discernible impact on the already increasing volume of foreign investment pouring in to the country. It will also hope $35m fully finally lay to rest the image of a Rwanda as war-torn country especially after the dreadful events of 1994, an association that is, understandably if unfortunately, indelibly linked to the country.

By comparing and contrasting different nations and juxtaposing the regulatory environments of 183 different global economies, the World Bank report provides an effective indicator of relative economic progress.

Ten different criteria are examined to produce the aggregate index on which rankings are calculated. These are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, access to electricity, registering property, obtaining credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency

Global factors

Even though Rwanda, like the rest of Africa, is faced with an unstable and turbulent global economy, it has managed to produce a sound economic...

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