Rwanda is the East African country that has improved its business regulatory environment the most over the past five years, according to the Doing Business in the East African Community 2011 report.
Doing Business 2011 ranked 183 countries on the overall ease of doing business.
“Rwanda, for the second year in a row, featured among the ten economies that improved the most on the ease of doing business, moving up from 70 in the global rankings in Doing Business 2010 to 58 in Doing Business 2011,” says the report.
“Rwanda’s improvements reflect concerted efforts,” notes the report. “In 2003 Rwanda started to reach out to East Asian economies such as Singapore to learn from their reform success stories.”
Rwanda’s reform agenda soon started to show results. In 2005, entrepreneurs had to go through nine procedures to start a new business, at a cost of 223% of income per capita. In 2010 it took only three days to start a company, costing only 8.8% of income per capita.
In 2008 more than 3,000 new businesses were established in Rwanda, compared to an average of only 700 annually in previous years.
Rwanda has also made it easier to register a property. “Registering property in 2005 took more than a year (371 days), and the transfer fees amounted to 9.8% of the property value. In 2010 the process took two months and cost 0.4% of the property value.”
Looking at the whole East African Community, the report states that all member states – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – have continued to take steps to make it easier to do business. Despite this progress, the EAC has not kept up with global reforms. “The average ranking on the ease of doing business in East Africa, at 117, is not much higher than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa overall,” says the report.
According to the Doing Business 2011 report, Kenya fell four places from 94 the previous year to 98; Uganda improved seven places from 129 to 122; Tanzania dropped from 125 to 128; and Burundi remained at 181 (the third lowest ranking among the 183 countries).