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Business and Development

10 Easiest Countries to Do Business in Africa 2019

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Do you want to do business in Africa? As you may well be aware, Africa is a continent that is buzzing with potential. One of the primary reasons it makes the best place to invest is its untapped opportunities. There is so much that you could do here. On top of there being a ready market and raw materials, the continent is also not short of skilled labor. Now, Africa has many countries; you cannot probably invest or do business in all of them.

The small economies in Africa are the best performing in terms of policy and business reforms. For this reason, the best three countries to do business in Africa today are not necessarily the economic giants of South Africa (position 82 globally), Egypt (position 120 globally), Nigeria (position 146 globally) or even Kenya.

The World Bank report uses very specific parameters in measuring the ease of doing business in a country and determining its position worldwide. These parameters include ease of starting a business, taxes, contracts, access to credit, training, dissemination, registering property,  and cross-border trade. The World Bank looks at a total of 190 economies in the world. And at this time, despite minor improvements, our own Eritrea (189 positions) and conflict-ravaged Somalia (position 190) managed the last two slots. The list below gives you the ten easiest countries to do business in Africa.

Top 10 Easiest Countries To Do Business in Africa

Do Business in Africa

#1 – Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the easiest countries to do business in Africa. The incredible part is that it ranks first in Africa! World Bank report has also positioned it 20th on a global scale. This should not be in vain. What makes Mauritius the best country to do business in Africa? There are several factors. The ones highlighted by World Bank being a notable improvement in areas of business creation, obtaining building permits, cross-border trade, enforcement of contracts and infrastructure. The predominant language for business is English.

#2 – Rwanda

Rwanda is an East African country with a lot of economic potentials. It is ranked the best in East Africa (pdf) by reports in ease of doing business in the region. The country is also rich in natural resources like minerals and agriculture. The country has so much going on, even in foreign trade. We are talking about tea, minerals, coffee, and tourism and so on. Is the legislative environment conducive? Well, as a matter of fact, it ranks 33 in property rights and 47 in innovation.

There are 4 official languages in the country. Kinyarwanda is the language spoken by most of the population. English, French and Swahili are the other 3 official languages. In 2008, English became the language of instruction in schools – this was a switch from the Frech language. The predominant languages for business are English and Swahili.

#3 – Morocco

Morocco is an African country that is located in the northern part of Africa; it is actually the most northerly country in the continent. Morocco ranks third when it comes to Africa’s best countries to do business in. What are the perks of doing business in this country? Truth be told, you will be overwhelmed.

It all starts with the mere fact that the country has proximity to Europe. What does that mean? The proximity makes foreign trade relations easy. Also, it makes the country a hotbed of investors. The business climate is also diverse and very proactive.

Since the government has geared its efforts towards the education sector of the country, educated workforce keeps increasing. The Moroccan government is also very stable and in support of economic development. There are so many opportunities to harness in this country. The country also has exceptional performance when it comes to Monetary Freedom.

Morocco is multilingual with different flavors of Arabic and French commonly used for communication. However, the predominant language for business is French.

#4 – Kenya

Kenya has the most powerful economy in East Africa. Just to show you why Kenya makes a good pick, you need to note that the state has risen the ranks in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business from position 136 globally to 61. The most incredible part is that this happened in less than five years. That is not all. The country has also exhibited exceptional economic and infrastructural development which makes it even easier to run business in the state. When it comes to innovation, the country ranks third in the Sub-Sahara. As you have seen, it offers a very conducive environment for business.

Kenya has two official languages, English and Swahili. However, English is predominantly used in business.

#5 – Tunisia

What makes Tunisia one of the best countries to do business in Africa? Well, there are several reasons why you should invest here. For one, it is one of the African countries that have the most diversified market-based economy. Also, just like Ghana (position 114 globally), you will even get to enjoy personal freedom as an entrepreneur. The country ranks fifth best country to do business in Africa.

Tunisia has two main ‘official’ languages. Modern Standard Arabic and French. Both languages are used to conduct business.

#6 – South Africa

Despite being an Africa economic giant, South Africa has not made as many significant reforms as needed to rank better as a country of destination for doing business in Africa. However, it is worth noting that South Africa ranks as the sixth best country to do business in Africa. Also, it has an overall rank of 82 in the world. South Africa’s economy can be described as a middle-income emerging market. The country also has abundance in natural resources and a well-developed transport and communication sector. That is not all. The country is also doing very well in the financial and legal sector.

The South African stock exchange is also impressive, ranking 20th in the world. All that combined with Investor Protection and Property Rights makes the country one of the best to invest in Africa.

South Africa has 11 official languages. However, business is mostly conducted in English.

#7 – Botswana

Botswana ranks seventh in Africa, and 86 in the World among the best countries to do business in. This is by reports released by the World Bank. What makes Botswana a catch? For one, the mining sector is attracting an outstanding number of investors. Also, it is good to note that Botswana’s banking and insurance sector is a force to reckon with. Cross-border trade and access to credit in the country is pretty impressive.

Botswana has two official languages, English and Tswana. However, English is the language predominantly used to conduct business.

#8 – Zambia

There are excellent potential and opportunity for growth here. It would be satisfying if you set up a business in the country and watch it grow as the nation grows. Despite the country relying heavily on copper trade, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the continent.

Zambia recognizes 7 languages as regional official languages. However, English is predominantly used in business dealings.

#9 – Seychelles

Seychelles is yet another country that ranks top 10 in the list of best states to do business in Africa. This has been attributed to the diverse economy. We are talking about tourism, agriculture, energy, and telecommunications. More so, the country has been ranked 96 globally by the World Bank.

Seychelles has 3 national languages – Seychellois Creole, English and French. However, English is the language predominantly used in business dealings.

#10 – Djibouti

Djibouti is among the top ten countries that improved quite significantly across three or more doing business areas as measured by the World Bank. The country did reforms in the areas of accessing credit, starting a business, protecting minority investors, enforcing contracts, registering property and resolving issues of insolvency. Most significantly, the country ranks among the top ten in Africa because of creating a one-stop shop for business startup.

According to Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti, “The reforms undertaken by the Government of Djibouti to improve the business environment can be a catalyst for change in the country’s economic landscape

Djibouti has 3 official languages – Somali, Arabic and French. However, French is the language predominantly used for business dealings.

Most Improved Countries

On the list of the 10 most improved economies in the world are 5 African countries. The countries are Djibouti, Togo, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Rwanda. Of the 5 countries, only Djibouti has been on the most improved list for 2 consecutive years.

Source: Doing Business database. Note: Economies are selected on the basis of the number of reforms and ranked on how much their ease of doing business score improved. First, Doing Business selects the economies that implemented reforms making it easier to do business in three or more of the 10 areas included in this year’s aggregate ease of doing business score. Regulatory changes making it more difficult to do business are subtracted from the number of those making it easier. Second, Doing Business ranks these economies on the increase in their ease of doing business score from the previous year. The improvement in their score is calculated not by using the data published in 2017 but by using comparable data that capture data revisions. The choice of the most improved economies is determined by the largest improvements in the ease of doing business score among those with at least three reforms.

Where will you invest?

Africa is a growing and diverse continent that is ripe with opportunities for investments and business. You cannot afford to miss out on the share of the economic pie. As you look for countries to do business in Africa, the list here should provide you with the best in the continent. The countries are packed with talent, innovation and also rich in natural resources. Invest and be a part of the business revolution happening in Africa!

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Business and Development

Sustainable Growers Rwanda Improving The Livelihood Of Female Coffee Farmers

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Sustainable Growers Rwanda (SG-R) is a local non-profit. The organization is offering training to low-income female coffee farmers to improve their livelihood. Majority of the low coffee yields are due to wrong farm practices. Some of the farming techniques SG-R are teaching the female farmers are mulching and timely application of fertilizers and pesticides.

The program SG-R is teaching the female coffee farmers has topics like cooperative management, agricultural practices, governance and leadership, home coffee roasting, and gender mainstreaming. The training happened in the Huye District of Rwanda. The female coffee farmers were also trained in quality control and cupping. These are necessary to increase their access to bigger markets. The Regional Director at Sustainable Growers, Christine Condo, said,

“We have a heavy agenda to enrich women’s potential with skills and means. Their focus and discipline inspire me greatly. These initiatives impact positively on the entire life-cycle of their respective families and Communities. We believe that 60 percent of coffee quality is achieved from the farm. That is why we have been training them to take care of coffee from seedlings to roasting, to cupping and marketing.”

Impact of the training to female coffee farmers

Sustainable Growers Rwanda is training female coffee farmers

A lot of Rwandan female coffee farmers are already reaping the benefits of the training. For example, Prisca Mukamurenzi has been suffering from low yield. The 46-year-old female coffee farmer used to harvest one kilogram of coffee from one tree. However, since attending the training, her fortune has changed for the better.

Mukamurenzi was one of the graduates of the SG-R training program comprising of about 3700 female coffee farmers. In attendance were farmers from the districts of Nyamagabe, Gisagara, Nyaruguru, and Huye. Last year Mukamurenzi was able to generate Rwf460,000 (approx. $510) from 250 kg of coffee. She also increased the coffee trees in her garden from 185 to 250.

To ensure the farmers implemented what they learned, SG-R also developed a reward scheme. The reward scheme called “Wakoze neza Muhinzi”, Premium Sharing Rewards was worth Rwf17 million (approx. $19,000). Depending on their level of performance, the women were rewarded with phones, radios, fabrics (ibitenge), mattresses, solar lights, pruning saws, pruning shears, sprayers, goats, pigs, and cows.

About Sustainable Growers Rwanda

Sustainable Growers Rwanda started its training in Nyaruguru District three years ago. However, the training has spread to other districts in the past years. The aim of their training is to improve the quality and prices of coffee as well as enhance transparency in coffee trading. Female coffee farmers in Nyaruguru are now reaping 100 percent increase in yield.

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Business and Development

Tanzanian Government Takes A Bold Stand To Protect The Environment

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Plastic accumulation is becoming a menace around the globe. Marine life often consumes these plastics which eventually get into humans. Many countries around the world are exploring alternatives to plastic use. However, Tanzania is the latest country to officially place a ban on the use of plastic bags. The ban will take effect from the 1st of June 2019. On Thursday 16th of May 2019, the government released a statement titled “Notice To Travelers Planning To Visit Tanzania” which read in part,

“The Government of Tanzania wishes to make an official note to travelers planning to travel to Tanzania that from 1st June 2019 all plastic bags, regardless of their thickness will be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in mainland Tanzania.”

Consequently, the government is planning to set up a special desk at entry points to ensure total compliance. With the announcement, Tanzania joins about thirteen other African countries that have either introduced levy or banned plastic bags. However, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa is calling on plastic bag manufacturers to find alternative technologies for bags.

The problem with plastic bags and exceptions to the ban

Tanzania bans plastic waste

The major problem with plastic bags is the length of time it takes to decay. Some researchers are speculating it can take up to 1,000 years. Consequently, their accumulation can lead to flooding when they block drainages. Also, they can prevent rainwater from penetrating the soil leading to low crop yield.

However, the government understands the importance of plastic in packaging and makes exceptions for a few. According to the statement, plastics or plastic packaging for sanitary and waste management, foodstuff, agricultural sector, construction industry, industrial products, and medical services are exceptions to the ban. “Ziplo Bags” used for carrying toiletries are also permitted for travelers since they are unlikely to be disposed of in the country. Another part of the statement reads,

“The government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from this plastic bags ban.”

Commendations for the new law

The international community is sending their message of congratulations to the Tanzanian government for the historic move. One of such messages came from Dr. Amani Ngusaru, the WWF Country Director. Ngusaru lauded the move as a boost to environmental and natural resources protection.

“Plastic is a number one polluter of environment and a silent killer of our natural environment and resources than most people understand. This is because it takes more than a hundred years for a single plastic bag to decay. We are happy that Tanzania is among the very few African countries to ban the use of plastic bags and we will work hard toward supporting the government in the fight against plastic pollution”.

Other African countries with a plastic control

In 2007, Uganda placed a ban on lightweight plastic bag. However, the ban was never implemented. In August 2018, Kenya introduced a total ban on the use of plastics. Consequently, those using plastics illegally in Kenya risk 4 years in prison or a fine of $40,000. Also, it is illegal to import, produce, use, or sell plastic bags in Rwanda. Currently, there are over 40 countries around the globe that banned, restrict or tax the use of plastics including Italy, France, and China.

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Business and Development

Tanzania Electric Train Commence Trial In July

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Tanzania electric train

Tanzania is reaching for another economic milestone. The government announced that it was it will be testing its maiden self-funded electric train. The train which will run at 160 km/h will be one of Africa’s fastest high-speed trains. The train will also provide a cheaper means of transport to the citizens.

Further details show that the phase running from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro which has 6 in between stations and stretches 300 kilometers will commence operation in December. The trial trains in phase one will be three passenger trains. However, these trains will conduct daily round trips covering the two cities. Each passenger train will be making a minimum of 9 trips per day.

Difference between Tanzania electric train and regular train

The speed train will make use of concrete sleepers. This allows the railway network to carry as much as 35 tonnes of load per axle and increase its durability. Consequently, the rails should be able to last up to 40 years before any major repairs. However, the train bridge can last up to 100 years.

Speaking at the historic launch of the flash butt welding of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at Soga, outside Dar es Salaam in Coastal region, Eng. Issac Kamwele, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications said the trial of the speedy electric train will happen in July. However, the trial will only cover a section of the SGR. In comparison to other country’s SGR, Tanzania’s will be fasters. Kenya and South Africa’s SGR can only reach a speed of 120 km/h

The impact this project will have on the economy

Tanzania government is making great strides to boost the economy of the nation. Recently, the government proposed plans to build cable cars for Mount Kilimanjaro. This is projected to double the current 50,000 annual tourists. However, not many think it is a good idea. A few groups think it will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.

ALSO READ: Tanzanian Government Considering Cable Car For Mount Kilimanjaro And Here Is How People Reacted

The $1.9 billion (Tshs 4.3 trillion) project has already created over 26,000 job opportunities. However, the government is optimistic that the second and subsequent phases will create more opportunities once fully functional.  The first railway lines in Tanganyika (previously German East Africa) were built after Zanzibar’s first tramway. The Ethio-Djibouti SGR project is currently the longest and first trans-boundary electric railway in Africa.

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