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Business News of Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Source: GNA

WB: Ghana still best place to do business in West Africa

Accra, Sept. 10, GNA - Ghana remains the easiest place to do business in West Africa and one of the top 10 economies in Africa by overall aggregate for doing business.

It is also the best place to register property and the best in protecting investors in the Economic Community of West African Sates (ECOWAS), the World Bank said in a report in Accra on Wednesday. It said Ghana, which over the past three successive years was among the world's best reformers, only recorded an improvement in the area of starting a business, by abolishing the requirements to register employment vacancies and to obtain a company seal.

This, according to the report, led to the reduction in the number of procedures to start a business.

"Overall, Ghana ranks 87th out of the 181 countries ranked in Doing Business 2009, as compared to 82 out of 178 countries for Doing Business 2008." The statement said Senegal made it easier to start a business, register property, and trade across borders. Burkina Faso, for its part, introduced a new labour code and reforms for registering property, dealing with construction permits, and paying taxes.

Botswana cut the time to start a business, facilitated trade, and strengthened investor protections while post-conflict countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with Rwanda, were among "the regions' most active reformers of business regulations". The report said Mauritius moved up to 24 in the global rankings on the regulatory ease of doing business and continues to provide inspiration for reform and good practices to other economies across Africa. The runner-up in these overall rankings is South Africa at 32, followed by Botswana at 38.

"With more reforms of business regulations in Africa than in any previous year, we are seeing many countries get inspiration from their neighbours about how to reform," said Sabine Hertveldt, a co-author of the report.

"Increasingly, countries in the region are committing to reform agendas that make it easier to do business," she added. Doing Business ranks economies based on 10 indicators of business regulation that track the time and cost to meet government requirements in starting and operating a business, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business.

The rankings do not reflect such areas as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates.

Singapore leads the global rankings on the overall regulatory ease of doing business for a third consecutive year. New Zealand is runner-up, and the United States third. Bahrain and Mauritius join the ranks of the top 25 this year. "Economies need rules that are efficient, easy to use, and accessible to all who have to use them. Otherwise, businesses get trapped in the unregulated, informal economy, where they have less access to finance and hire fewer workers, and where workers lack the protection of labour law," said Michael Klein, World Bank/IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development. "Doing Business encourages good rules, and good rules are a better basis for healthy business than 'who you know,'" he added. 10 Sept. 08