Business News Wed, 26 Sep 2007

Doing Business in Ghana Made Easier

... Ranked 87th out of 178
Ghana ranks among the top 10 "reformers" worldwide who have made the most significant advances in the aggregate ease of doing business, according to the annual 'Doing Business' report released by World Bank and the International Finance Corporation(IFC) on Tuesday.

Ghana is ranked 87th out of 178 economies in the ease of doing business

Ghana, a top 10 reformer for the second year running, continues to increase the efficiency of its public services. It cut bottlenecks in property registration, reducing delays from six months to one. Greater efficiency at the company registry and the environment agency cut the time for business start-up to 42 days. Changes in the port authority?s operations sped up imports. New civil procedure rules and mandatory arbitration and mediation reduced the time it takes to enforce contracts.

The yearly report that tracks business reforms globally, lists only two African countries -- Ghana and Kenya -- in the top 10. High marks also go to Madagascar, Mozambique, Madagascar and Burkina Faso.

Singapore once again topped rankings for the best place in the world to do business, and Egypt is the leader in reforms to invite more business.

However, across the Sub-Saharan region, the report said business reforms are uneven, with six African countries occupying the last six positions in the list of 178 countries judged according to ease of doing business.

The IFC report, which looks at how government bureaucracy can affect, and often limit, business environments, also gave high marks for making it easier to conduct business to Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, China and Bulgaria.

Doing business in Africa was once perceived as a difficult and complex undertaking. The reasons: the numerous processes associated with conducting business, combined with a fragile investment climate and inadequate infrastructure.

But, with fewer conflicts, more democratic elections, and economic growth rates that gradually have begun to compete with those of other developing regions, Africa is proving itself again a continent of positive change.

Developing nations compete with one another to move up on the World Bank rankings of 178 nations, figuring a better ranking will mean additional investment and, ultimately, economic growth.
The report also becomes a way for the World Bank's private-sector unit, International Finance Corp., to encourage economic ministries to press ahead with market-friendly changes. A computer simulation model on a World Bank Web site, www.doingbusiness.org, lets officials see how changes in, say, their bankruptcy or tax rules would likely affect their standings.

Among the 10 areas tracked by the World Bank are regulations involved in starting businesses, obtaining licenses, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes and closing businesses. .


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