The Ease of Doing business initiative (EDBI) is a peer-to-peer learning event aimed at facilitating knowledge sharing on Doing Business reforms. The EDBI conference helps reforming countries showcase and replicate best practice in implementing reforms that will help the expansion of private sector and attract greater investment flows in Sub Saharan Africa. The topic for this year’s conference was ‘‘Business Reforms for industrialization, value addition and job creation”.
Ina-Marlene E. Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager in Zambia, said “There is a direct link between sharing of knowledge and good practice and Sub Saharan African countries’ progress in improving their business environment”. She added “Through the EDBI, the World Bank Group contributes to strengthen the capacity of experts in charge of reforms in the region, which in turn helps Sub Saharan Africa reduce the gap with global top reformers.”.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance in the Doing Business report has been steadily improving. In the Doing Business 2017 report, the region claimed 80 of the 283 reforms implemented worldwide, making it the most reforming region in the world. 37 out of the region’s 48 economies passed at least one reform improving their business environment.
For Inonge Wina, Vice President of Zambia, “our country highly welcomes the opportunity offered by the Ease of Doing Business Initiative conference to learn from other reforming countries while showcasing the strong reform agenda implemented here in Zambia”. “Business reforms are crucial to increase local participation in a country’s growth. We cannot achieve this without sharing best practices and perspectives” she added.
Debates during the conference notably highlighted the move, throughout the region, to integrate automated solutions in the reform effort and the need for more bilateral collaboration on specific indicators, to allow more sharing of regional best practice. Participants also stressed on the need to fit Doing Business reforms within the broader framework of efforts to improve countries’ business environments. Last, participants suggested countries from the region could synchronize their Doing Business reform cycles to better leverage each other’s progress.
A delegation from Liberia participated in the EDBI 2017. The Liberian delegation was led by Mr. Stephen A. Marvie, Deputy Minister of Trade.
Côte d’Ivoire will host the next EDBI conference in 2018. This will be a first for a West African and francophone country. Adama Coulibaly, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Economy and Finance, stated “Our delegation has particularly learned from Zambia and Ghana on how to involve private sector in promoting the Doing Business reform agenda. The EDBI conference we will host next year will allow to showcase the computer-based reforms implemented in Côte d’Ivoire and to discuss the region’s progress on Doing Business reforms. We are looking forward to welcoming Africa’s community of reformers.”