There are many examples of good practice in doing business across Africa – and indeed, African countries have been consistently among the top 10 reformers globally in the series of ‘Doing Business Reports’ published annually by the World Bank. But there is also considerable variation, between countries and also between different indicators even within the same country, with the result that despite reforms the business environment in Africa, the continent continues to lag behind other regions. There is, however, great scope for harmonising around best practice, for instance, on a regional basis. If the best practices within each Regional Economic Community (REC) were adopted by all countries across the RECs, the global ranking of each Community would improve dramatically and regional integration would be reinforced.
Overall, the RECs would jump by an average of 140 places to between 3 and 45 in the global ranking for good business environment, compared to 132 to 184 now. Six of the eight RECs would be in the top 25, of which four would be in the top 10; the two others would be ranked 27 and 45.
Harmonising around best practice would lift:
• CEN-SAD’s overall ranking in the global table by 172 places to 4th, and put its overall business environment on a par with that of the United States;
Making progress will require concerted action at national and sub-regional levels. Practical next steps might include:
•identifying and reaching regional consensus on best practices;
Examples from other developing regions maybe useful in this context. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation (APEC), for example, uses the Doing Business reports to identify potential areas of regulatory reform, to champion economies that can help others improve, and to set measurable targets.