Uganda has overtaken Kenya in the ease of doing business in the east African region, the latest global ranking has shown, in what puts a fresh spotlight on Kenya’s pace of implementing reforms.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report dubbed Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, Kenya dropped to position 121, from 109 out of the 185 economies surveyed.
The report, which promises to put pressure on Kenya’s policy makers, show that Uganda, which has been trailing Kenya since the report began being published, is now ranked at position 120.
Rwanda dropped seven positions to be ranked number 52 globally, but remained the top in the region.
Tanzania came in at position 134 dropping from 127 while Burundi was at 151, improving 18 positions. The report, in its tenth edition, is a co-publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
It focuses on regulations applying to small and medium-size domestic companies in 11 areas of their life cycle: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and employing workers.
The latest report found that Poland improved the most in the doing business measures globally in 2011/12. Singapore maintained its top spot for the seventh consecutive year in the global ranking on the ease of doing business.
Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulation were Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.
Out of the 50 economies making the most improvement in business regulation for domestic firms since 2005, 17 were from Sub-Saharan Africa.
“From June 2011 to June 2012, 28 of 46 governments in Sub-Saharan Africa implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business—a total of 44,” it said.
Burundi, with four reforms, ranks among the 10 economies globally that improved the most in the past year across three or more areas measured by Doing Business—the only low-income economy on the list.
Another finding is that European economies in fiscal distress are making efforts to improve the business climate, and this is beginning to be reflected in the indicators tracked by doing business, with Greece being among the 10 economies that improved the most in the business measures in the past year.
“Over the years, governments have made important strides to improve their business regulatory environment and to narrow the gap with global best practices,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group in a statement accompanying the report.