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How the reduction of red tape bolsters business registration and licensing processes

August 28, 2015

How the reduction of red tape bolsters business registration and licensing processes

ICF has been working with a number of African governments to improve the business environment by making it easier for businesses to register and obtain operational licenses. These improvements have helped to reduce bureaucracy and delays leading to greater efficiency in the provision of these services on the side of government, and a reduction of time and costs on the side of businesses.

In Burkina Faso, ICF supported the Government’s efforts to improve business registration, as well as simplify the application process for construction permits. As a result of these interventions, the number of procedures needed to register a business were reduced from six to four, taking three days instead of 18 and costing US$106 instead of US$350. For construction permits, the number of procedures needed to obtain a construction permit were reduced from 32 to 15, taking 19 days instead of 226 and costing US$ 480 instead of US$ 2,270.

Similarly in Cape Verde, ICF’s intervention helped the Government to expand its existing e-business registration system to include licensing and business closure services, making it a full business lifecycle service. One-stop-shops were extended to all nine inhabited islands in order to provide countrywide access to the new business lifecycle services. As a result, registering a business now takes less than a third of the original time in the sectors of retail, wholesale, tourism, travel agency, civil construction, and industry. Costs for licensing wholesale and retail activities have gone down from US$ 770 to US$ 380. Lastly, companies are now able to close in between two-10 days.

In Liberia our project with the Government reduced the time, cost and complexity associated with registering a business. Registering a business used to take 99 days but after ICF’s intervention it only took a maximum of 6 days.

In Sierra Leone we worked with the Government to streamline procedures, automate administrative processes and digitize documents in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar General. As a result the time it takes to register a business and process a land transaction have been reduced dramatically, both processes now take one day each.

Mauritius implemented two projects to improve business registration and licensing. The first project undertaken by the Government of Mauritius and ICF introduced an electronic document management system for business registration with the aim of reducing the time and cost of registering statutory documents. This project has reduced the time it takes to register a company from half-a-day to half-an-hour, the time to file returns from 14 days to eight days and delivery of certified copies from two to three days to same-day delivery. In the second project ICF is helping Mauritius to introduce an electronic Registry which would allow users to submit and pay for asset registrations online and make it easier for them to transfer ownership of property. The project is expected to reduce the time to transfer ownership of immovable property (e.g. houses) from 15 days to 1 day, and movable property (e.g. cars) from 1 day to 30 minutes. Documents such as affidavits, security bonds and leases will be processed within 30 minutes rather than one day. Time taken to search the deeds archives is expected to go down from 1-2 days to 30 minutes.

In Rwanda ICF helped the Government to implement two business registration and licensing projects, namely the Rwanda Investment Climate Project and the Business Life Cycle project. The Rwanda Investment Climate Project sought to strengthen and speed up the pace of investment climate reforms in the country in general, and included the introduction of an online system for business registration. As a result, the time to register a business went down from 16 days to two days, there were only two procedures for registration, and the fee reduced from $ 433 to $ 25 and free using the online option. Over 10,000 businesses were registered between June 2010 and September 2012. The Business Life Cycle project builds on gains previously achieved by the Investment Climate Project by including mortgage registration and establishing the practice of insolvency resolution in Rwanda. The project is expected to reduce the time takes to register a business from two days to six hours and reduce the number of procedures from two to one.

These projects highlight the benefits that countries can achieve when they improve their business registration and licensing processes. By removing barriers to business registration and licensing, African governments can facilitate the growth of the private sector and promote a robust economic environment, where businesses are free to conduct commercial activity, create jobs and boost economic growth.

15 December 2015

As this year draws to a close, it is heartening to look back on some of ICF’s projects completed during 2015 and reflect on the ways in which these diverse works are continuing to improve the continent’s business environment and, in the process, boosting the growth of Africa’s private sector. Read More »
15 December 2015

African leaders are working together more and more to drive economic growth and strengthen institutions in order to help the continent’s peoples grow and prosper. With an understanding that collaboration is crucial in encouraging Africa’s continued economic expansion, ICF is working with African governments and the private sector to implement practical solutions in the infrastructure facilitation sector that deliver tangible results. Read More »
15 December 2015

From cooking oil to cars, Sao Tome and Principe, a small island state in the Gulf of Guinea, imports a lot ofits consumables. Over 90% of these imports go through the Sao Tome port. As part of the goods clearing process, importers have to engage with different government border agencies in order to clear their cargo. Read More »
26 November 2015

On 21st November 2015, the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) opened its new trade facilitation centre in Mombasa. Read More »
26 November 2015

Taxation is an important part of the way governments generate the income they need to deliver services as well as develop their economies. The taxation landscape on the African continent is constantly changing and with new technologies and systems it is becoming more efficient. Read More »
26 November 2015

The Mauritius Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) has beaten stiff competition from 52 contestants to win the Grand Prize of the Public Service Excellence Award (PSEA), together with the award for Innovation and Improvement. This winning witnessed RGD scooping a cash prize of 150, 000 Mauritian Rupees (approximately USD 4,023.61). Read More »
17 November 2015

As a continent, Africa has been making itself significantly more investor-friendly for some years now. The recently published World Bank Group report, Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, has found that Sub-Saharan African economies are among the world’s top improvers of business climate. According to the report, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin are in the top ten list of the most improved countries worldwide as regards reforms that make it easier to do business. Read More »
11 November 2015

Andrew Karabassis is the Managing Director of Costbuild Limited, a construction company located in Ndola, Zambia. The demanding nature of his business requires him to spend a lot of time on site, leaving little time for Andrew to physically visit Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) offices for his tax matters. Read More »
11 November 2015

Eliba Kazimzuri is an entrepreneur who is actively engaged in animal and poultry husbandry. She manages a total of 2,400 cattle, pigs, chicken and ducks, in Kibaha, Tanzania. Operating as a micro enterprise in the informal sector, Eliba was unable to secure reliable business funding to expand her business, thus failed to increase her productivity and employ more workers. Read More »
11 November 2015

The flower business is a time sensitive enterprise, as Juliana Rono, Sales and Marketing Manager at Karen Roses, can testify. One of Kenya’s major exporters of cut flowers, Karen Roses exports over 6 tons of flowers daily to Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, and United Kingdom. The perishable nature of flowers means time is of the essence for them. Read More »
30 October 2015

ICF has been working with governments across Africa to modernize their taxation systems in order to make them work more efficiently for both the private sector and the tax administrators. Read More »
29 October 2015

Rwanda Revenue Authority now processes taxes by the click of the mouse, allowing the business community to file and pay taxes instantaneously. Read More »
29 October 2015

To help improve the investment climate in Cape Verde, ICF partnered with the Government of Cape Verde and the African Development Bank to create a tax administration system that is simpler, more efficient and customer service oriented. Read More »
12 October 2015

On Thursday 8th October 2015 Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Debretsion Gebremichael launched the eTrading Platform, along with an eTrading Centre, at the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) in Addis Ababa. The Platform ushers in a new era of electronic trading of commodities in Ethiopia. Gone are the days of flashing hand signals at the trading pit. Read More »
09 October 2015

(Addis Ababa, 8 October 2015) - Ethiopia Commodity Exchange announced today the inauguration of its revolutionary eTRADE Platform located at its headquarters on Chad Street. The ECX also made public the introduction of a new consolidated coffee grading system for the coming harvest season. Furthermore, the Exchange’s enhanced SMS/IVR market data dissemination platform was launched on the same day. Read More »
25 September 2015

There’s an old saying that notes the importance of sharing skills using the analogy of fishing. It goes like this: if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day but teach him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. The same applies to capacity building - strengthening the ability of people, organizations and countries to adapt and thrive enables them to develop and move forward Read More »
25 September 2015

Access to financial services and markets is an important building block of any economy. Not only does it assist the all-important small business sector on the continent but it helps strengthen the private sector, increase investor confidence, and bring important benefits to businesses of all sizes. ICF’s work in this field ranges from education about financial services all the way to modernizing commodity exchanges and improving access to these services. Each of them have an important role to play in a country’s development. Read More »
09 September 2015

On 3rd September 2015, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) held a certification ceremony for Electronic Trading Trainees. The aim of the ceremony was to certify 371 traders who undertook training on the electronic trading system. The system was introduced under the ECX Modernization project. Co-funded by the Government of Ethiopia and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, the project aims to improve trading efficiency, services, and stakeholder access to commodity trading in Ethiopia. Read More »
28 August 2015

ICF has been working with a number of African governments to improve the business environment by making it easier for businesses to register and obtain operational licenses. These improvements have helped to reduce bureaucracy and delays leading to greater efficiency in the provision of these services on the side of government, and a reduction of time and costs on the side of businesses. Read More »
28 August 2015

Business registration and licensing is an important conduit to creating a thriving and robust business sector. It enables businesses, particularly small ones, to gain access to funding and to certain protections by the law. It also helps formalize the economy as registered businesses pay tax and deliver other important benefits to the economy, like job creation. Read More »
28 August 2015

Like for any business owner, time for Kefa Angwenyi is money. And wasted time means wasted money – and wasted opportunities. As the Managing Director of an architectural firm called Neocracft, the ability to plan construction projects and deliver to clients on an agreed timeframe is crucial. Read More »
03 August 2015

Recently, the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) celebrated the closing ceremony of the Alternative Dispute Resolution project. Read More »
30 July 2015

Kigali, July 30th 2015 - Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) marked the successful implementation and the official closing of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Project (ADRP) at KIAC's newly unveiled office located in Nyarutarama. This project was implemented in cooperation between the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), Government of Rwanda (GoR), Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) and KIAC. Read More »
30 July 2015

ICF partners with governments across Africa to improve the business environment in partner countries. In our previous blog we explored the importance of contract enforcement in terms of meeting this objective and the various ways in which we achieve this. In this blog we will explore various case studies of work that ICF has completed on contract enforcement. Read More »
30 July 2015

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015, the freedom of contract is the ability of adults and groups— such as corporations and other legal entities— to freely decide whether to enter into an enforceable agreement and to determine the rights and obligations of their bargain. What we can infer from this statement is that the enforcement of contracts is critical to this process. Read More »
29 July 2015

Ready access to commercial justice is crucial for any enterprise as it enables them to resolve commercial disputes quickly and efficiently. It also gives business owners the confidence to engage in commercial activities as they are assured of quick resolutions should any disputes arise. Read More »
26 June 2015

In our previous blog titled Enhancing trade facilitation in Africa - when borders cease to become barriers for economic growth, we discussed trade facilitation in Africa, specifically how intra-African trade has the immense potential to unlock economic development in African countries. Read More »
24 June 2015

Trade facilitation – the simplification, harmonisation, standardisation and modernisation of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods across borders – is an important enabler of economic growth. Trade facilitation reduces the time, cost and other related barriers to t rading between countries. Furthermore, trade facilitation also helps to maintain the integrity of borders by ensuring that the relevant laws and regulations are followed. Read More »
23 June 2015

Eliba Kazimzuri is an entrepreneur who is actively engaged in animal and poultry husbandry. She manages a total of 2,400 cattle, pigs, chicken and ducks, in Kibaha, Tanzania. Operating as a micro enterprise in the informal sector, Eliba was unable to secure reliable business funding to expand her business, thus failed to increase her productivity and employ more workers. Read More »
02 June 2015

On 28th May 2015 ICF and the African Development Bank held a joint event to promote investment climate reforms in Africa. The event, titled "Investment Climate: The Journey so Far", was held as part of the African Development Bank's Annual Meetings which took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 25th to 29th May 2015. Read More »
29 April 2015

Being able to properly register land is crucial in any economy, and has far reaching impact. It enables property owners to secure their right to their land. It enables companies to protect the ownership of their operating premises and makes them feel confident to operate, expand, create more jobs and engage in greater economic activity. Read More »
29 April 2015

Over the last few decades, it has become increasingly recognised by economists and policymakers that prosperity and property rights - defined as laws created by governments in regards to how individuals can control, benefit from and transfer property - are inextricably linked. Individuals and businesses will create new forms of property to generate wealth only when they are assured that their rights to their property will protect them against unjust or unlawful actions by other parties. Read More »
29 April 2015

Anthony Hategekimana, a local businessman in Nyagatare District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, is an enterprising man. A father of three, he runs a flour mill, a woodwork shop and cultivates fruits that he sells locally in his District, in the country’s capital city Kigali, and in a major market at the Rwanda border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
16 April 2015

From the 21st to 25th March 2015, the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) held a training on adjudication in Kigali, Rwanda. The training brought together 60 professionals from various disciplines including engineers, lawyers, surveyors, and contractors from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Read More »
09 April 2015

Clearing goods through Customs in Tanzania was a lengthy and costly process. Systems were fragmented, documents had to be manually exchanged across a variety of organizations and agencies, and there was a general lack of coordination between regulatory agencies. Read More »
30 March 2015

Our previous blog looked into the subject of doing business in Africa and highlighted the successes of a few African countries as measured by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015. For this article we wanted to unpack doing business in the continent and provide an understanding of how ICF’s priority areas and related projects are helping our partner countries improve their investment climate through business friendly regulations and systems. These priority areas include business registration and licensing, property rights and contract enforcement, tax and customs, financial markets and lastly, infrastructure facilitation. Read More »
25 March 2015

On 23rd March 2015 ICF and the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) signed an Agreement for the Tanzania Investment Window project. The Project will expand, consolidate and promote the Tanzania Investment Window in order to increase investments in Tanzania. Read More »
25 March 2015

Today, the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) have signed an agreement worth US$ 950,000 on a project that aims to increase investments in the country by expanding, consolidating and promoting the Tanzania Investment Window. Read More »
02 March 2015

Painting a picture on the current state of affairs of the business environment in Africa is no easy task. It takes a lot of work in order to gather relevant data and information that supports the realities on the ground. This reality is, to a large extent, influenced by many micro and macro factors and is often very different from country to country. Read More »
16 February 2015

As 2015 starts and the continent begins to get a new year underway we at ICF too have begun the year with two strong objectives we aim to deliver on in 2015. These objectives stem from our overarching goal of creating a continent that is a better place to do business. We do this by working with African governments, private sector and development partners on projects that break down barriers for investment and enhance economic prospects for the continent Read More »
21 January 2015

For many entrepreneurs, starting a business is about necessity. The decision is not about building on a skill or an innovation – it is about putting food on the table for families and communities. In light of this reality, if starting a business is difficult or expensive, then this impedes the potential to change the livelihoods of millions and the important economic development that a robust small business sector creates. Read More »
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