Doing business in Rwanda is now easier than in France, Netherlands and Japan. A lesson for other African countries.

President Kagame

According to the 2018 ease of doing business report released by the world bank, Rwanda is now ranked 29 in the world out of 190 countries. This remarkable achievement means that Rwanda has a better business environment than several economic powerhouses including France, Spain, Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland. Rwanda is 2nd in the continent behind Mauritius. Rwanda improved its ranking from 41st last year to 29th this year.

The ease of doing business report

The ease of doing business report was pioneered by Simeon Djankov. Every year the world bank releases the report that measure the cost to companies of doing business in 190 countries. The report ranks countries after assessing several indicators such as analysis of costs, requirements and procedures private firms are subject to in all countries. Thus, it shows which countries and leaders are promoting business environment reforms. The report is an important knowledge source. Developing countries especially use the report as guideline in reforming their business environments.

How Rwanda achieved this position

Rwanda has improved its business regulatory environment and will very soon catch up with the global best regulatory practices. This outstanding feat was achieved through the various reforms implemented by the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame. Firstly, the country implemented the highest number of reforms globally in 2017/2018 at seven. Secondly, the country has significantly improved its land dispute resolution mechanism. Consequently, the country ranks second globally for property registration.

Thirdly, the country’s reforms in access to credit placed it among the top ten worldwide when it comes to access to credit. Finally, the country introduced electronic online business registration. As a result, starting a business in the country is relatively easy. Similarly, the cost of starting a business has greatly reduced from 317 percent of GDP per capita in 2005 to below 15 percent in 2018.

President Kagame’s vision

President Kagame’s vision is to transform Rwanda into middle-income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050. Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has achieved one of the fastest economic growth in the world at 7 percent per annum. As a result, several improvements have been observed in the country.

For instance, life expectancy increased from 31 to 69 years and less than 40 percent of the population are below the poverty line. Additionally, several social indicators especially the health sector has drastically improved. With hard work and improved strategies it is possible for the country to fast-tract the developmental goals and bring the dates forward.

Sub-Saharan African countries on the move

For the third consecutive year, sub-Saharan countries implemented the most reforms globally. In the past year the region implemented 107 reforms to improve the ease of doing business especially for small and medium enterprises. Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria and Djibouti were among the top ten list of countries with the most improvements across three or more indicators.

The region has done extremely well in improving the ease of doing business in the past three years. However, there are still significant regulatory challenges to overcome. Policy makers in African countries should continue implementing more reforms in order to place the region among the top globally in ease of doing business. Rwanda is proof that with the right leadership, African countries could be among the best globally in ease of doing business. Once this is achieved, millions of Africans will be lifted out of poverty.


Six African countries top the United States in the 2019 freedom of press index released by Reporters Without Borders

The united states, the champions of democracy and freedom of expression in the globe, has been topped by six African countries in the 2019 freedom of press index released by Reporters Without Borders.

Press freedom is the principle that communication and expression through various media should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Freedom of press index

The freedom of press index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization’s own assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year. Its objective is to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom.

6 African countries top the US and 4 top the United Kingdom

The United States, the champion of democracy and freedom of expression around the globe has been topped by six African countries in the 2019 freedom of press index released by Reporters Without Borders. This might come as a surprise to many, since most people believe press freedom is non-existent in Africa. The countries ahead of the United states are Namibia, Cape Verde, Ghana, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Botswana in that order. Similarly, the United Kingdom was topped by the first four mentioned African countries.

Enabling press freedom in order to reap its benefits

Press freedom can only be achieved via access to truthful and impartial information. The sources of such information can come from various voices across the entire community.

However, for freedom of expression to be achieved, several factors must be present. Firstly, there must be a legal and regulatory setting that permits for an open and diverse media sector to develop. Secondly, there should be a political will to support the sector and strong institutions to protect it. Finally, laws that uphold access to information in the public domain should be enforced.

Press freedom is the cornerstone of good governance in democracies across the world. In addition, press freedom has several benefits to countries. Foremost, It guarantees openness, accountability and the rule of law. Moreover, it encourages participation in public issues and contribute to the fight against poverty.

Press freedom has positive effects in africa

The achievement of these African countries demonstrates that the entire African continent could achieve excellent democracies and press freedom given the right leadership. Above all, there are evidence of strong correlation between press freedom and HDI performance. For instance, the African countries with the best freedom of press performances were also the most stable and have the highest HDIs in the continent. Likewise, their economies are also among the best performing in the continent.

A Lesson for young democracies and dictatorships

This news should serve as a lesson to young democracies across the continent to maintain press freedom for greater prosperity and development. On the other hand, Africans should avoid electing dictators as presidents. In this vein, all current dictators should be voted out to allow democracy and press freedom to reign throughout the continent. Finally, we implore on the AU and other relevant bodies to sanction dictatorship regimes in Africa till they significantly improve their press freedom.