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WB group promotes investment climate in Africa

The World Bank Group’s investment climate team in Sub-Sa haran Africa will promote learning and cooperation among seven African countries

on how to make it easier to do business and encourage regulatory reforms.

Participants in a three-day conference that ended in the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha Friday, were told.

Participants from Burundi, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambi a attended the conference, while Bangladesh participated as an observer.

The conference is aimed at increasing understanding among regulatory policy make rs and the private sector about what factors contribute to a country’s success i n making regulatory reforms.

It also shared lessons, increased political buy-in for reforms, and developed a network of reformers.

The conference used best practices from Africa and around the world as examples.

Over the last few years, several East African countries have made impressive pro gress on and introduced programmes that improve the investment climate.

Kenya has introduced a broad reform agenda, eliminated or simplified 23 business priority licenses.

The country aims to amend another 30 that account for 60 per cent of total licen sing costs.

Madagascar aims to simplify or eliminate 36 business licenses, reducing administrative burdens by 30 per cent, the conference noted.

Rwanda has completed an inventory of all its 189 licenses, identified 20 high pr iorities to be streamlined or eliminated, and plans further to establish an e-re g istry to cut costs, times and procedures to start and operate businesses.

According to Doing Business 2009, an annual report by IFC and the World Bank, Af rica had a record year for regulatory reforms that made it easier to do business .

But the report also found that Africa still faced greater regulatory and adminis trative problems than entrepreneurs from other regions.

The conference was also supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for Interna tional Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speakers included Julius Rotich, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Co mmunity; Gareth Thomas, Minister of State for Development of the United Kingdom;

and Michael Klein, Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development a t the World Bank Group.

The investment climate team in Sub-Saharan Africa provides advisory services on behalf of the World Bank Group.

The team is managed by IFC and draws staff and resources from across the Bank Gr oup and development partners to help governments in Africa achieve successful re f orm.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.

It fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting pri vate sector development.

It also mobilises private capital, and provides advisory and risk mitigation ser vices to businesses and governments.

IFC investments totalled US$ 16.2 billion in the fiscal year 2008, a 34 per cent increase over the previous year.

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