15 Sub-Saharan African Countries Where It’s Easiest To Do Business In The Formal Economy

World Bank’s Doing Business indexes shed light annually on how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run a small to medium-size business when complying with relevant regulations.

The bank measures and tracks changes in regulations affecting 11 areas in the life cycle of a business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and labor market regulation.

In a series of annual reports Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared
across 189 economies, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, over time. The data set covers 47 economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Doing Business methodology has limitations. Certain areas important to business—such as an economy’s proximity to large markets, the quality of its infrastructure services (other than those related to trading across borders and getting electricity), the
security of property from theft and looting, the transparency of government procurement, macroeconomic conditions or the underlying strength of institutions—are not directly studied by Doing Business.

Below we’ve listed the 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where it’s easiest to do business, according to the overall rankings on World Bank’s Doing Business report. In addition to overall rankings, the bank provides multiple secondary rankings that drill down into the specifics.

Conspicuously absent from the top 15 are Nigeria and Angola.

It’s easier to do business in Sudan than in Nigeria, according to World Bank.

Nigeria ranked No. 37 out of 47 sub-Saharan African countries for ease of doing business, and No. 170 out of 189 countries in the world, higher than Zimbabwe (ranked No. 171).

Angola ranked No. 181 out of 189 countries, and No. 42 out of 47 sub-Saharan countries.

Here are the 15 sub-Saharan African countries where it’s easiest to do business in the formal economy.

financial inclusion Africa Kenya

15. Kenya

Rank: No. 136 out of 189 countries

Kenya eased business start-up by reducing the time it takes to get the memorandum and articles of association stamped, merging the tax and value added tax registration procedures and digitizing records at the registrar.



14. Ethiopia

Rank: No. 132 out of 189 countries

Ethiopia made starting a business easier by streamlining registration procedures.



13. Tanzania

Rank: No. 131 out of 189 countries

Tanzania made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement for inspections by health, town and land officers as a prerequisite for a business license.


March 17, 2015 during the inauguration of the new prime minister in Maseru. Photo: HLOMPHO LETSIELO/Getty

12. Lesotho

Rank: No. 128 out of 189 countries

Lesotho made starting a business easier by creating a one-stop shop for company incorporation and by eliminating the requirements for paid-in minimum capital and for
notarization of the articles of association.


Photo: Dana Sanchez

11. Mozambique

Rank: No. 127 out of 189 countries

Mozambique eased business start-up by introducing a simplified licensing process. Mozambique made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital and bank deposit requirements Mozambique made dealing with construction permits easier by improving internal processes at the Department of Construction and Urbanization—though it also increased the fees for building permits and occupancy permits.



10. Cabo Verde

Rank: No. 122 out of 189 countries

Cape Verde made business start-up easier by eliminating the need for a municipal inspection before a business begins operations and computerizing the system for delivering the municipal license. Cape Verde made starting a business easier by implementing an online company registration system.


Lusaka, Zambia zambiatourism.com

9. Zambia

Rank: No. 111 out of 189 countries

Zambia made starting a business easier by raising the threshold at which value added tax registration is required


Swaziland handmade-fabrics, Baobab Batiks. Photo: ohthepeopleyoumeet.com

8. Swaziland

Rank: No. 110 out of 189 countries

Swaziland made starting a business easier by shortening the administrative processing times for registering a new business and obtaining a trading license.


Salt production, Walvis Bay, Namibia

7. Namibia

Rank: No. 88 out of 189 countries

Namibia made getting electricity easier by reducing the time required to provide estimates and external connection works



6. Seychelles

Rank: No. 85 out of 189 countries

The Seychelles made paying taxes easier for companies byreducing the business tax rate applicable to income above 1 million Seychelles rupees ($77,700) and by introducing a
simplified new tax return allowing joint filing and payment of the business tax, VAT and corporate social responsibility tax. On the other hand, it increased employers’ pension fund.



5. Botswana

Rank: No. 74 out of 189 countries

Botswana made starting a business easier by simplifying the process to obtain a business license and the process to register for taxes.


Ghana Bamboo Bikes. CNN

4. Ghana

Rank: No. 70 out of 189 countries

Ghana simplified business start-up by further streamlining registration procedures through the creation of a customer service desk at the one-stop shop. Ghana increased the cost to start a business by 70 percent.


Africa Solar Power

3. Rwanda

Rank: No. 70 out of 189 countries

Rwanda made starting a business easier by reducing the business registration fees. Rwanda made getting electricity easier by reducing the cost of obtaining a new connection.


H&M South Africa

2. South Africa

Rank: No. 43  out of 189 countries

South Africa made starting a business easier by implementing its new company law, which eliminated the requirement to reserve a company name and simplified the incorporation documents.


Woman working on metal pieces for ship models, Bobato Ltee Factory, Curepipe, Mauritius. Getty

1. Mauritius

Rank: No. 28 out of 189 countries

Mauritius made starting a business easier by reducing trade license fees.

Source: AFK Insider


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