African business, politics and lifestyle
How to win business in Africa?
African countries are often being told what they need to do to win more investment and expand their economies, but there is always a question as to whether making the changes will really deliver the rewards.
The lesson from top reformer Rwanda seems to support the argument that it is worthwhile.
Registered investment leapt 41 percent to $1.11 billion in 2009 in spite of the particularly difficult global environment. It is expected to rise 20 percent this year. And that is in a small, landlocked country not noted for immense resources, still recovering from the genocide of 1994 and some neighbours that might best be described as unstable.
Rwanda has long been a darling of donors because of its reforms and no doubt also because of guilt over the world’s failure to prevent the mass killings, but this isn’t aid money – it is investment in businesses to generate money and jobs.
Rwanda recently became the World Bank’s biggest business reformer on its Ease of Doing Business Index , leading 10 countries in regulatory reform – the first time a country from sub-Saharan Africa has done so.
It is interesting is to look at where Rwanda ranks particularly highly compared to some other African economies – and notable that this includes areas that involve protection for investors and ensuring the rule of law as well as curbing bureaucracy.
Has Rwanda found the right recipe? Will it work in the long term? Is it something that other African countries could replicate?
Looking at the progress chart over the past few years showing how African countries have done on the overall index relative to each other, Sierra Leone is also rising rapidly. Zambia started from a higher level, but is showing progress too. Some others may have more cause for concern.