Malawi improves on World Bank Doing Business Index

Post was last updated: October 25, 2019

Malawi has moved up two steps on the latest World Bank Doing Business Report 2020 released yesterday.

Malawi has moved from position 111 to position 109, despite registering no reforms this year. Last year, the country recorded two reforms on the Doing Business Report.

The report shows that Malawi recorded a score of 60.9 up from 60.4 on the Doing Business 2019 report.

The Doing Business 2020 study shows that developing economies are catching up with developed economies in ease of doing business.

Trade Minister, Salim Bagus, was not immediately available for comment as he was reportedly in Russia attending the Russia-Africa Summit with President Peter Mutharika.

World Bank Malawi Country Manager, Greg Toulmin, said improving the business environment would be crucial in helping the Malawi Government deliver on its commitment to creating jobs for young people.

“So, it is good news that Malawi has, overall, improved its business regulations and in absolute terms, is narrowing the gap with global regulatory best practice.

“However, there is still much more Malawi needs to do—and quickly—if this commitment is to be realised in full. We look forward to working with government to help them deliver it,” Toulmin said.

The report shows that economies in Sub-Saharan Africa continued to improve their business climates, with the region’s largest economy, Nigeria, earning a place among the year’s top global improvers alongside Togo.

It says economies in the Sub-Saharan region enacted 73 reforms in the 12 months leading to May 1, down from a record high of 108, and the number of countries implementing at least one reform fell to 31 from 40.

The regional average ease of doing business score was 51.8 on a scale of 0 to 100, below the OECD high-income average of 78.4 and the global average of 63.0.

The region conducted the most reforms in areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits and getting credit, with 12 reforms in each.

The report says, thanks to initiatives led by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, getting credit became easier in several economies in the region.

Doing Business Unit Programme Manager, Santiago Croci Downes, said with reforms led by the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa last year and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community this year, economies in Sub-Saharan Africa have demonstrated how regional cooperation can help to effectively improve the business climate.

Compared to other parts of the world, Sub-Saharan Africa still underperforms in several areas.

In getting electricity, for example, businesses must pay more than 3,100 percent of income per capita to connect to the grid, compared to just over 400 percent in the Middle East and North Africa or 272 percent in Europe and Central Asia.

When it comes to trading across borders and paying taxes, businesses spend about 96 hours to comply with documentary requirements to import, versus 3.4 hours in OECD high-income economies, and small and medium-size businesses in their second year of operation need to pay taxes more than 36 times a year, compared to an average of 23 times globally.

The Doing Business Reput has recorded more than 3,800 regulatory reforms since the first study was published in 2003. Many of those reforms were implemented in four areas measured by Doing Business—starting a business, getting credit, paying taxes and resolving insolvency.

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