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EAC Launches Report On Improving East African Business Regulations

by Lorys Charalambous, LawAndTax-News.com, Cyprus

26 August 2011


The East African Community (EAC) has launched a report prepared by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank which points out that, if the best of East African regulations and procedures were implemented across the board, the business regulatory environment in East Africa would be comparable to that in Japan.

The report, entitled “Doing Business in the East African Community 2011”, takes a detailed look at business regulations in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The report states that East African countries could benefit from sharing between them their individual good practices in business regulation.

The average ranking for those countries is 117 out of 183 economies overall in the annual Doing Business study. However, in the past five years, it says, all East African Community economies have made it easier to do business. Kenya has some of the most business-friendly regulations for dealing with construction permits; Ugandan courts resolve insolvency relatively efficiently; and Rwanda is among the fastest places to start a business.

“If each East African country was to adopt the region’s best practice for each indicator, East Africa would rank 18, bringing the community closer to the global top performers,” Sabine Hertveldt, World Bank Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, and co-author of the report, disclosed.

It was added that, in recent years, EAC economies have worked to harmonize EAC Customs Union legislation and Common Market protocols while establishing peer-to-peer networks. In July 2010, EAC countries officially entered into a common market.

However, the World Bank Country Director for Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi, Mercy Tembon, urged the EAC member states to enact the legislation necessary to implement all of the Common Market protocol, saying “Partner States should reduce costs of production, eliminate barriers to trade and harmonize all laws to improve the business climate.”

"Although the Common Market has opened several opportunities for businesses in the region, it still requires an investment climate that is properly suited to catalyzing additional trade and investment. The EAC Doing Business report serves as a platform for private sector and governments to work together to make doing business in the community easier," Agatha Nderitu, Executive Director of East African Business Council, added.

“We are serious about our role in the creation of an environment which is attractive to increasing private sector activity within and across our borders. We can do this by further streamlining regulations affecting businesses and by ensuring that the business environment is reassuring to investors,” confirmed Enos Bukuku, EAC Deputy Secretary General.

He challenged the EAC member states to improve the business environment by effectively collecting taxes and utilizing the resources to put in place the required infrastructures.

TAGS: tax | business | law | trade treaty | agreements | Kenya | Rwanda | Uganda | regulation | trade | Burundi | Tanzania

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