USAID Support for Top Reformers Highlighted in World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2015 Report

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
USAID Press Office
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: Twitter: @USAIDPress

The World Bank Group has released Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, the 12th in a series of annual reports benchmarking the regulations that affect private sector firms. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports regulatory reforms in developing countries and is proud to have partnered with several countries in successfully implementing a number of reforms highlighted in this year’s report.

The 2015 report commends 10 countries as “top-reformers” that have improved their regulatory environment over the past year, with a particularly strong performance from Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, four of the top-reforming countries are from West Africa: Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal. Across sub-Saharan Africa, USAID is supporting increased trade flows through its regional Trade Hubs in West, East, and Southern Africa. In Benin, USAID opened a Border Information Center with Nigeria to integrate border management operations and reduce delays in crossing, resulting in millions of dollars of savings for traders. In Mozambique, USAID provided equipment and technical assistance to streamline the construction permitting process, making it easier to obtain a license and resulting in millions of dollars saved for the private sector.

In Latin America, USAID partnered with the International Finance Corporation to support successful reforms to reduce the time and cost to register a business in Guatemala, reflected in an improved “Starting a Business” score. In Colombia, the government improved access to credit for businesses through the introduction of a new secured transactions law and registry that now has more than 880,000 registrations valued at more than $69 billion.

In Asia, where trade indicators show impressive improvements, USAID supports several reform programs. In Burma, USAID is partnering to develop a trade portal that increases transparency by publishing policies and practices affecting the movement of goods across borders. In Pakistan, USAID provided technical assistance and equipment to enable real-time automated processing and reconciliation of export and import documents, thereby increasing expediency. USAID is also working with the government of Bangladesh to establish a single window to streamline customs procedures.

In Eastern Europe, USAID continues to partner with governments to improve the business climate. In Ukraine, USAID supported reform of the property registry, with the result of reducing the time to process applications by 18 days. In Kosovo, USAID worked with the government to reduce construction permit fees and introduce phased inspections for construction, making it easier for companies to acquire construction permits.

USAID commends the countries undertaking important reforms highlighted in this year’s Doing Business report. These successes improve the environment in which businesses operate and facilitate greater trade, investment, employment and economic growth.