Nairobi has been ranked the most difficult Kenyan city to do business as the country dipped in the World Bank Doing Business Index.
Malaba, in western Kenya topped the list as the easiest city/town to carry out business, in the latest World Bank Doing Business in Kenya 2012 report.
The report is the second in a series analyzing business regulations from the perspective of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in 13 Kenyan cities.
It also revealed that the country slipped three positions to 109 in ease of doing business out of 183 economies.
Speaking during the launch of the report here, Prime Minister Raila Odinga expressed concern over Kenya’s declining performance in Doing Business, down considerably from 72 in 2008.
“We are ranked at number 166 in paying taxes, 141 in trading across the borders, 133 in registering property and 132 in starting business. This is a very poor performance and it is a negative trend replicated in the global competitiveness index 2010-11, where Kenya is ranked number 106 among 139 countries,” he highlighted.
He added that there was the need for a one-stop shop in licensing businesses in Kenya, where an investor can obtain all the licences they require in starting the business in one place.
Despite this, starting a business in Kenya is still a relatively burdensome process compared to Rwanda, where it takes two procedures, three days and 4.7 percent of per capita.
The Registrar of Companies has only one office in the entire country, requiring entrepreneurs from out-of-town to travel to Nairobi to register their companies.
The report looked at four indicators, including starting a business, construction permits, registering property and enforcing contracts.
In Mauritius and Senegal, opening a business can be accomplished in six and five days respectively.
World Bank Country Director Johannes Zutt, said improving Kenya’s doing business ranking should extend to addressing issues in the broader investment climate.
“Topics such as licensing reform, inspection and enforcement reform, ICT applications making services more easily available to businesses, supporting Public Private dialogue, improving the trade regime and regional integration are important for doing business,” he said.
The East African Community is the second fastest growing business community in the world after East Asia and the Pacific.