ICF’s investment climate projects come to a close
October 31, 2016
Since 2007, ICF’s sole mandate was to boost Africa’s economic growth by working to eliminate barriers to doing business on the continent. By working with local businesses and governments ICF was able to identify and improve priority areas that drive the investment climate in African countries.
ICF’s overall objectives were to build effective coalitions between businesses and governments, working with these stakeholders to create conducive environments for businesses at all levels to invest, grow and create jobs, as well as improve Africa’s image as an investment destination.
ICF has successfully completed its mandate, having implemented 73 business reform projects in 21 African countries and across three regional blocks. In preparation for its complete closure in December, ICF is busy concluding the last projects
ICF’s final project in Cape Verde focussed on increasing private sector participation in strategic sectors of the country.
The Government of Cape Verde has a portfolio of 27 state owned enterprises (SOEs) that play an important role in key sectors of the economy. In order to improve asset management and increase private sector participation in these sectors, the Government decided to strengthen the capacity of the SOE Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Planning and establish a Privatisation and Public-Private Partnership Unit (P&PPP).
ICF supported the Government to establish the P&PPP Unit in an effort to increase investment opportunities for the private sector in Cape Verde. Not only is this expected to increase economic growth in the country, it will also help reduce the Government’s public debt burden. Already, three state-owned enterprises have been privatised as a result of the project. The project also contributes toward transferring knowledge, technology and management skills in the country through increased private sector participation.
In Seychelles, ICF’s final support focused on the diversification and deepening of the financial service sector, as well as strengthening the country’s oversight and regulatory regime for the financial services sector.
The objective of the Seychelles Government was to create an enabling environment for private sector investment through deepening and diversification of this sector, development of financial infrastructure, capital markets, financial inclusion and capacity building for the implementation of the requisite regulations.
ICF’s assistance laid the foundation for these changes by working with three different Government departments to support law reviews, research studies, policy papers, and capacity building missions. The project contributed to strengthening the country’s Financial Sector Development Implementation Plan and provide a foundation for the Government to move forward its diversification agenda.
In Burkina Faso ICF assisted in establishing an electronic single window to speed up the clearance of goods at customs. As a result, pre-clearance processing has been reduced from 15 days to three days. This trade facilitation project integrated seven government agencies, five private sector agencies, 10 commercial banks and five insurance firms. The number of documents required for imports has been reduced now to only seven compared to the former 10, and only three documents are needed for exports.
ICF also facilitated a project to improve property rights in the country by establishing an electronic system that interconnects the Government’s business, land and construction permit systems for better intra-government sharing of information, which reduces delays and costs for business owners.
ICF has played a critical role in implementing reforms in these countries and we are honoured to have been involved in creating business benefits for so many people.