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Politics | Economy - Development

USAID honoured to associate with top-reformers

afrol News, 9 September - The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has expressed honour to have partnered with eight of the top countries highlighted for reforms to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses. The agency said this yesterday following the release of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2010: Reforming through Difficult Times.

USAID programmes where technical support was provided top 10 reformers include three African states of Rwanda, Egypt, and Liberia. Other mentioned reformers are Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Colombia and Tajikistan.

For instance, USAID mentioned its partnership with Egypt on reforms that reduced the capital required for new business registrations, made it faster to obtain required construction permits, and created specialised commercial courts to reduce the time required to resolve disputes. “These reforms build on a history of USAID assistance in Egypt that since 2006 have reduced the time to register a business from 34 days to 7, reduced the time to register property by more than a hundred days, and cut in half the time to export/import goods,” the agency said in a statement.

In Liberia, the partnership was on improving the customs clearance processes at the port in Monrovia through the establishment of a one-stop shop that cut several days from the time to import/export goods, while in Rwanda, USAID projects reduced the time to export goods and improved access to credit. Reforms that will be reflected in the 2011 report include the establishment of a private credit bureau.

“USAID is proud to have partnered with the Doing Business project since the initial publication of the report in 2004. USAID is currently supporting economic reformers in more than 50 developing country governments. USAID awards hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and grants annually with the objective of improving the business environment in developing countries,” the agency concluded in its statement.

Meanwhile, South Africa has fallen two spots in the World Bank's annual 2010 Doing Business Report.

The report, themed, "Reforming Through Difficult Times", found that South Africa fell two ranks from 32 in the 2009 survey to number 34 in the 2010 survey.

The report ranks 183 participants in 10 categories, including starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

Singapore topped the 2010 report's list, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States.

The report said that the past year had proven to be a difficult one for doing business as companies around the world had to deal with the effects of the global economic meltdown.

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