Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is among the top 20 countries that have excelled in implementing reforms meant to improve the ease of doing business, a latest World Bank report shows.
Since assuming office in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has prioritised economic reform and one of the most important aspects of that agenda was improving the country’s business environment to be able to compete with neighbouring countries for fresh foreign investment.
Under the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, the government is speeding up reforms to create a more welcoming and conducive environment for investments to flow in and flourish.
One of the biggest changes made by the government was scraping the indigenisation law which had been cited as hindrance to foreign investment.
Prior to this, Zimbabwe had experienced a massive decline in foreign direct investment due to a combination of factors including a hostile investment climate.
But, in a vindication of the new administration’s reform agenda, a latest World Bank report dubbed the Top 20 improvers in Doing Business 2020, Zimbabwe was ranked with other countries including China, Kenya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, India and Djibouti.
“Zimbabwe made regulatory improvements in five areas measured by Doing Business. Zimbabwe made starting a business easier by improving online name search and reducing the Harare Municipality business licensing fee. More frequent sessions by the municipal building commission in Harare led to faster approval of construction permits,” read part of the report.
“Likewise, the Deeds Registry implemented an internal tracking system allowing applicants to track their applications throughout the property transfer process. Finally, Zimbabwe introduced a new reorganization procedure, allowing creditors to vote on the reorganization plan, granting debtors the possibility of obtaining post-commencement finance and improving access to credit by giving secured creditors absolute priority during insolvency proceedings.”
The Doing Business report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional level.
The Doing Business report looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle by gathering and analyzing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time.
Also as part of its economic reform agenda, Zimbabwe has agreed to a Staff Monitored Programme with the IMF, which concluded its first assessment this week.
In its assessment, the IMF commended government commitment to reform despite setbacks caused by natural calamities such as the drought which has impacted on the country’s economic performance.