29 October 2012

Burundi Best Reformer

Photo: Marie Claire Ndikumana
Fruit vendors (file photo).

Bujumbura, Burundi has been declared the best reformer in Africa in the World Bank Doing Business Index. This was revealed in the release of this year's Doing Business Index 2013 that was released last week.

For the second time in a row, Burundi leads East Africa in reforms. This is because, like last year, Burundi registered four reforms in the doing business index. None of the other East African countries registered more than 2 reforms.

Doing Business 2013 assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 185 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation; starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Burundi has achieved such a feat by continuously improving the business climate with the help of the World Bank and other agencies. In November 2010, the government of Burundi set up a unit for strategic planning in charge of strengthening the inter-ministerial coordination and establishing strategic management of reforms.

"We had to do whatever was in our power to ensure we attract investors and also improve on the poor grading we had in the Doing Business Index," an official in the office of the second Vice president (the office that is in charge of economic development) told East African Business Week last year.

In DBI 2012, Burundi reformed the procedures of dealing with construction permits, protecting investors, paying taxes and resolving insolvency. In DBI 2013, Burundi improvement in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and trading across borders.

An official in Economic Management Support Project (EMSP/PAGE), a World Bank funded project, told East African Business Week in an exclusive interview that one of their major thrusts was to improve the business climate by reforming the commercial law and the judiciary system.

Poland was the global top improver in the past year. It enhanced the ease of doing business through four institutional or regulatory reforms, making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency.

Burundi is currently ranked number 159 out of 185 countries. This is a great improvement as compared to it's worst position in DBI 2011 when it was ranked at number 181 out of 183 countries ranked that year.

Rwanda has maintained it's position as head of the EAC ranked countries at number 52, followed by Uganda, which has overtaken Kenya at 120. Kenya follows at 121 and Tanzania is fourth at number 134, a downward movement from a previous 127.

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