Juba, Southern Sudan, May 17, 2011—A new report from IFC and the World Bank released today finds that the Government of Southern Sudan is making strides to improve the business environment for small and medium enterprises.
The report, Doing Business in Juba 2011, is the first assessment of business regulations in Southern Sudan’s capital. It helps fill the data gap in the semi-autonomous region, which is expected to become Africa’s newest nation in July. The report cites improvements in eight laws on business registration, operations, and land ownership that have been enacted since the 2005 peace agreement. More than 9,000 businesses have signed up with the government’s business registry since it started in 2006. In addition, commercial banks have been established and basic infrastructure is being rehabilitated.
Starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and registering property are relatively fast in Juba, according to the report. At 15 days, the startup time for a business in Juba is comparable to the average 13.8 days in developed economies of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. However, the cost of starting a business is as much as 250 percent of per-capita income—more than twice the average cost in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Reforms that cut red tape, clarify property rights, and streamline regulatory compliance can yield big payoffs,” said Mierta Capaul, Lead Private Sector Development Specialist of the World Bank Group. “There is an opportunity for Southern Sudan to build the strong foundation necessary for a vibrant formal private sector.”
The report also identifies key areas for improvement. Juba’s three different legal frameworks cause uncertainty and poor infrastructure and the complexity of administrative processes hamper trade. Access to credit is very limited and the lack of a collateral registry prevents entrepreneurs from using their assets as guarantees for loans.
Doing Business in Juba 2011 examines business regulations from the perspective of small and medium enterprises. It benchmarked nine regulatory areas—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business. The study was conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Investment at the Government of Southern Sudan and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.