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In an attempt to improve and maintain their level of Ease of Doing Business and world ranking, different COMESA Member States have undertaken reforms in different indicators considered in computing the ease of doing business index. Some of these are in areas of Quality control, Registering property, Protection of minority investors, payment of taxes, Enforcing of contracts, Access to credit and trade across borders. Some Member States like Mauritius, Rwanda and Zambia have been successful at such while others like Eritrea and Libya have failed on that front.

  • According to the Doing Business Report 2018, Mauritius which is the first ranked state in COMESA improved in the world ranking by 24 places moving up from position 49 in the previous year to rank 25 in 2017. This significant improvement in the world ranking for Mauritius was due to the reforms implemented i.e. Introduction of electronic certificate of Incorporation, Outsourcing of the design and construction of sewerage connection works, eliminating the transfer tax and registration tax and improving on the cargo community system.
  • Rwanda too saw an improvement in its world ranking from the 56 in the previous year to 41 in 2017. This according to DB 2018 was because of implemented reforms in dealing with construction permits, paying of taxes,protecting minorities, enforcing contracts and registering property. 
  • Other COMESA Member States that realized an improvement in the world ranking based on the ease of doing business index include; Zambia that moved from 98 to 85, Kenya that improved to 80 from 92, Malawi from 133 to 110, Madagascar from 169 to 162, Djibouti from 171 to 154 and Zimbabwe from 161 to 159. 

However, despite the significant improvement in the world ranking of Member States, not all were fortunate enough to make adjustments in reforms that would lead to an improvement in the ranking and thus their drop in the rankings. 

  • Countries like Seychelles, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Burundi, Comoros, Uganda, Egypt and Swaziland either dropped or maintained the ranking. Libya although it improved in world ranking from 189 to 185, it maintained the 18th position in the COMESA region.

In 2017, an individual needs a minimum of 6 days to start a business in Mauritius compared to 61 days in Zimbabwe. Mauritius with 6 days ranks as the country in which its easy for one to start a business

Under dealing with construction permits,  all procedures required for a business in the construction industry to build a warehouse along with the time and cost to complete each procedure are recorded. In addition, Doing Business measures the building quality control index, evaluating the quality of building regulations, the strength of quality control and safety mechanisms, liability and insurance regimes, and professional certification requirements. Mauritius ranked 9 under dealing with construction permits with the minimum number of days taken for it being 98 days compared to 172 days in Egypt and Libya that does not practice it.

Overall, the performance of Mauritius in all the 11 indicators has been significantly very good with the only poor performance coming in the area of trading across borders where it ranked a high of 70 in the world. 

The 11 Doing Business indicators considered by the Doing Business report 2018 captures the effectiveness and quality of business regulations in different countries around the world. Research findings substantiate the economic relevance of the aspects of business regulation measured by Doing Business. Doing Business places emphasis on the quality of legal infrastructure and the strength of legal institutions. The protecting minority investors indicator set, for example, measures the protection of minority shareholders. For businesses to secure equity finance, legal mechanisms are needed to prevent the use of corporate assets by company insiders for personal gain—especially during financial crises or times of market distress. 

The World Bank survey on Ease of Doing Business explains ease of doing business index rank as an aggregate figure of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders and enforcing contracts. It measures aspects of business regulation affecting domestic small and medium-size firms defined based on standardized case scenarios and located in the largest business city of each economy. The Ease of Doing Business Index rank provides countries with a clear understanding of the current business climate and it is relevant to the COMESA Member States as they provide a platform for a debate and dialogue on policy reforms in the interest of business.



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