By Karime bensaid, egovernment project consultant, sofrecom - February 18, 2019
Since 2003, the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report annually measures the ease of doing business for small and medium-sized enterprises around the world to attract investment, improve competitiveness, and promote job creation. Doing Business reports shed light on the design of national reforms and motivate these reforms through country-by-country benchmarking.
The criteria for assessing savings range from electrification to ease of starting a business, tax burden and protection of the right to property. Digitization is not a criterion in itself, but does transcend all the others, and has a major impact on a country’s Doing Business ranking, in particular in African economies, where digital innovation is the driver of economic growth.
According to the 2018 Doing Business ranking, Africa's economies are, for the second year in a row, the record-holders in terms of reforms implemented to improve the business climate. The total number of reforms introduced last year amounted to 83, bringing the total number of reforms recorded over the last 15 years in the 48 economies of the African continent to 798. Several of these reforms have been fruitful; to list just one example, while it took an average of 61 days to start a business in Africa in 2003, the timescales are now falling to an average of 22.5 days, and the digital revolution in Africa has played a part in this.
Take Morocco, for example, which is now the top African player in the ranking thanks in particular to its approach focused on digitization and the implementation of the One-Stop-Shop to facilitate foreign trade, promote the competitiveness of the national operator and improve the business environment: this reform has enabled the Kingdom to move up 39 spots in the Doing Business 2017 ranking, attracting new investors to the country.
The Republic of Ivory Coast is following the same path and showing strong ambition to improve its business climate by simplifying the lives of businesses. This simplification will involve dematerializing numerous administrative interactions and procedures in order to cut down on the time and costs of administrative transactions. For example, Sofrecom was involved in setting up an Electronic One-Stop-Shop for Recording Official Documents at the General Tax Directorate (DGI) in order to reduce, in particular, the time and cost of resolving commercial disputes and improving the quality and effectiveness of legal proceedings in Ivory Coast.
The Moroccan and Ivorian initiatives are not the only ones in Africa; several countries have initiated digital reforms to improve the business climate in their country. Today, Rwanda is Africa's best in class, when it comes to e-government driven by the digital innovation that the country has tamed and placed at the heart of its economic growth.