Liberia Drops in World Bank's Doing Business Ranking

The World Bank's 2020 Doing Business report shows that Liberia's performance

The ease of doing business in Liberia has deteriorated marginally compared to last year, a new World Bank report has revealed. The World Bank in its latest Ease of Doing Business Report ranked Liberia at 175, from 174 in the previous year's report.

The Doing Business 2020 Report targets reforms implemented by the countries in the sub-Saharan region to ease constraints in doing business. The regional average ease of doing business score was 51.8 on a scale of 0 to 100, below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) high-income average of 78.4 and the global average of 63.0.

OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization with 36 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

The report took into consideration the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement for a small- to medium-sized limited liability company to start up and formally operate in each economy's largest business city. However, Liberia scored favorable points in this section - 88.9 points out of 100.

Liberia is at the bottom in the region when it comes to registering a property for business. With a score of 31.9, Liberia is ranked 180 of the 190 countries. Rwanda is ranked third in this category with a score of 93.7. The regional average score for registering property is 53.6.

Kenya and Rwanda have ranked fourth in attaining credit for doing business. Both countries have a score of 95.0 of 100, followed by Ghana which has a score of 60.0, ranking 80. Liberia is next from the bottom in the region ranking 104 on the global stage with a score of 50.0. Sierra Leone sits at the bottom for this indicator (in the region) with a score of 25.0 and ranks 165.

When it comes to protecting minority investors, Liberia is the least in the Sub-Saharan region. In this segment, Doing Business ranks Liberia 176. The score here is 22.0. The regional average is 38.5. Kenya is doing well here, with a score of 92.2 and ranks number one of the 190 countries. Ghana follows with a 60.0 score and ranks 72.

Liberia is next to Rwanda when it comes to the ease of paying taxes in Sub Saharan Africa. Ranking 76 on the global stage, Liberia has a score of 76.4. Rwanda, on the other hand, ranks 38 with a score of 84.6. Sierra Leone performed with 73.0 points with a rank of 93, Kenya ranked 94, while Ghana trailed in the region with a score of 56.0 and ranked 152.

Liberia's performance in cross-border trade is the least in the region. The score here is 19.2 and ranks 184 amongst the 190 surveyed countries.

Doing Business 2020 is a World Bank Group flagship publication, and it is the 17th in a series of annual studies that provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

The report stated that economies in sub-Saharan Africa set a new record for a third consecutive year, carrying out 107 reforms in the past year to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises.

It noted that the latest reforms were a significant increase over the 83 reforms that were implemented in the region the previous year. In addition, this year also saw the highest number of economies carrying out reforms, with 40 of the region's 48 economies implementing at least one reform, compared to the previous high of 37 economies two years ago in the region. Meanwhile, Liberia recorded zero reforms for both the 2019 and 2020 Doing Business reports.

"Four of the region's economies have earned coveted spots in this year's global top improvers, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, and Rwanda," the World Bank says. "And Mauritius regained a spot in the world's top-ranked economies, in 20th place.

"Five reforms were carried out in Mauritius during the past year, including the elimination of a sole gender-based barrier. In the area of starting a Business, Mauritius equalized the business registration process for men and women and further consolidating the registration process for all applicants. Clarifying ownership and control structures and introducing greater corporate transparency strengthened minority investor protections. Reforms were also carried out in the areas of Registering Property, Trading Across Borders and Paying Taxes.

"Rwanda carried out the most reforms in the region in the past year, with seven, and moved up to 29th rank globally. The latest improvements in Rwanda, which has carried out the most reforms since the inception of Doing Business 16 years ago, included making starting a business less costly by replacing electronic billing machines with free software for value-added tax invoices," the report added.

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