October 25, 2019

Inspiration From Rwanda Makes Togo ‘Most Improved’ Business-Friendly Country

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President Paul Kagame chats with Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé at the 10th BRICS Leaders’ Summit, Johannesburg, July 27, 2018

In November 2013, a high-level Togolese government delegation arrived in Rwanda. This trip marked the start of a reform agenda, which the World Bank said yesterday has made it with the “most notable improvements” in the 2020 Doing Business rankings.

The 13-member delegation was led by Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Florent Yao Badjam Maganawe and also included parliamentarians.

“Rwanda’s progress over the past 10 years inspired authorities in Togo, leading several Togolese delegations to visit Kigali to learn about successful reforms,” said the report released yesterday October 24.

Togo’s President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma set a goal to be number one in West Africa in Doing Business 2020.

To achieve this target, Togo made significant reform efforts in the areas of starting a business, registering property, and getting credit.

One particular move remains notable. President Gnassingbé in 2014 hired Rwandan Henry Gaperi, to head Togo’s revenue collection body. He had previous also headed the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), and was at the time, head of social security fund.

Gaperi is no longer there, and he was also accused by Togo’s noisy opposition of being part of system causing the suffering of the Togolese.

Six years later, Togo, the World Bank says, has achieved the most significant reforms in Africa during the 2018-2019 period, together with Nigeria.

Rwanda on its part is 2nd in Africa and 38th globally – which has come with indepth reforms of the business environment, while Togo is at 97th position.

However, despite year after year of improving rankings, the 2020 report also saw Rwanda’s global ranking drop 9-positions as a result of its sluggish stock market.

A new benchmark was introduced by the World Bank including the performance of the stock market among the key indicators for a good ranking. Yet, the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) has not become as vibrant. It has eight companies listed, less than the 10 required.

Globally, only two Sub-Saharan African economies including Rwanda rank in the top 50 on the ease of doing business. However, no Latin American economies rank in this group.

While economic reasons are the main drivers of reform, the advancement of neighboring economies provides an additional impetus for regulatory change. Basically, countries are seeing their neighbors shining and also take up the reform project.

Twenty-six economies became less business-friendly, introducing 31 regulatory changes that stifle efficiency and quality of regulation. Most of them are in Africa.

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