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Thursday, 22 October 2009 11:33

Business Transactions Still Difficult In Most African Countries

From: Mrs Lydia Asamoah, GNA Special Correspondent, Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Oct. 21 (GNA) - Africa still lag behind other regions in the world in easy business transactions, a report from United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has revealed.


The report made available to the media at the on-going International Conference on Population and Development+15 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said in Africa, particularly, Sub-Saharan Africa, it was costly and took much time to begin business and obtain licence to import and export goods.


The African Governance Report II (AGRII), published in conjunction with the Oxford University Press, stated that these were cause for concern because there were compelling evidence that heavy regulations governing business and labour were associated with lower levels of investment, employment and productivity.


AGRII is a comprehensive report on governance in Africa, assesses and monitors progress in African countries, identify capacity gaps and make policy recommendations on improving governance on the continent. It conducted the survey in 35 African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Swaziland, Mozambique, Cape Verde, South Africa, Seychelles and Botswana.


The report, however, acknowledged that some significant progress had been achieved in reducing red tapeism in some countries from January 2005 to June 2007, where 29 countries introduced positive bureaucratic reforms such as one-stop institutions for investors, streamlining licencing procedures and reducing the cost of establishment of business.


It said these reforms had not been enough since there had been weakness in contract enforcement, protection of property rights and corporate governance.


"For instance, less than half of the experts surveyed for the report regarded their governments as effective in protecting property right and enforcing business contracts," it said.


The report indicated that it had been slow to create an enabling environment for private-sector development and difficult in attracting private investment.


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