By Brian Ngugi
Kenya has risen 21 positions to 108 in the global investment competitiveness survey by the World Bank.
The World Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business Index released on Tuesday cites Kenya as the third most improved nation in its business regulatory reforms across 189 economies.
Kenya was at position 136 last year, but the World Bank later revised it to 129.
According to the report, the getting-credit indicator improved upwards as a result of the introduction of Credit Reference Bureaus, allowing financial institutions to assess the credit-worthiness of firms and individuals.
Reduced electricity connection procedures, which reduced the number of days it takes to hook up businesses to the grid from 158 to 110 days, also gave Kenya a boost.
Deputy President William Ruto, who graced the report’s release in Nairobi in the company of seven Cabinet secretaries, welcomed the new findings.
He said government efforts to create a globally competitive business environment for both local and international investors were beginning to bear fruit.
Mr Ruto, who called Kenya’s improvement “historic”, emphasised that both the government and the private sector should aim to enhance Kenya’s business standing in the world even further by removing all the prevailing bottlenecks in doing business.
“While we celebrate this significant progress, the work has just begun and our goal is to be among the top 50 destinations globally in doing business,” said Mr Ruto.
Four regulatory reforms, including in the acquisition of credit, electricity connections, starting a business and registering property, shored up Kenya’s rankings.
In the starting-a-business indicator, reforms made in improving the area of stamp duty has reduced the number of days it takes to register a business from 30 to 26.
In the registering-property category, the digitisation of land records at the Land ministry registries were cited for reducing customer interaction points and spurring efficient services.
Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Aden Mohammed said several business-friendly laws enacted in the last few weeks and which were not captured in the report would boost Kenya’s standing going forward.
They include the Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and the Special Economic Zones Act.
“These Acts, in addition to the ongoing infrastructural projects, and a raft of the other regulatory reforms that are being implemented by the government will radically improve our standing,” said Mr Mohammed.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) CEO Carole Kariuki said: “Despite these achievements, more can be done to improve other indicators and with the recent presidential assent (to the) Companies, Business Registration Services and Insolvency Acts, the quality of the rules can only continue to improve, thereby creating an enabling business environment for the private sector and laying the foundation for further reform.”
In the survey, Singapore topped the world, Rwanda took position 62, South Africa 73 while Uganda emerged 122. Tanzania took position 139 and Ethiopia 146.