Promoting the entreprenant status to support the formalization of micro and small enterprises in the OHADA region
COTONOU, 27 January, 2016. The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and the Government of Benin, in collaboration with the World Bank Group and the International Organization of La Francophonie organized a regional workshop to share experiences on the implementation of the Entreprenant Status in the OHADA space.
The primary objective of this meeting is to enable OHADA member states to learn from the Benin example, the first country in the OHADA community to implement the new entreprenant status that was adopted by the regional institution in December 2010, and came into effect in May 2011.
At the opening ceremony for the workshop, Mr. Lionel Zinsou, the Prime Minister of Benin expressed the country’s pleasure at hosting the meeting, and underlined the significance of the moment: “Benin is proud to share its experience in implementing the entreprenant status with other OHADA member countries. The significance of the implementation of this status is not just national; it is of regional importance.”
Over the next two days, the 17 OHADA member states are expected to study the Benin example to understand the key to its success and to put into practice good practices for an efficient implementation of the entreprenant status. Opening the deliberations, Professor Dorothé Cossi Sossa, the Permanent Secretary of OHADA said, “You have a unique opportunity to face your experiences, to pose your questions and to identify the actions tha will serve the best interests of populations in Africa. We need to act decisively on the entreprenant statut to foster the emergence of a truly dynamic private sector, which represents a real improvement in the quality of life for the citizens in our region.”
Katrina Sharkey, Resident Representative of the World Bank in Benin invited the OHADA member states to adapt public policy to serve the millions who operate in the informal sector. Highlighting the World Bank Group’s contribution to the successful implementation of the entreprenant status in Benin, she said, “We hope that these discussions over the next two days will allow all the states represented here to develop and implement appropriate policies that successfully integrate the millions of firms operating on the margins of the formal economy, that they may become more prosperous and create more jobs that will help reduce poverty in their respective countries.”
The entreprenant status was instituted by the OHADA Uniform Act which deals broadly with commercial law. It is a new, simplified judicial regime, that is free and open to every individual conducting a civil, commercial, artisanal, or agricultural activity who would like to be registered at the Commercial and Credit Registry. It is aimed primarily at encouraing the integration of economic actors from the informal sector into the formal sector and helping them to access banking, financial and social services. The final goal is to allow firms that have been formalized in this way to develop, create more jobs and to contribute in a substantial fashion to wealth creation and the reduction of poverty.
Outside of discussions on the Beninese experience and the impact evaluation study, the OHADA member states delegates will examine questions related to (i) the current situation in other OHADA countries; (ii) solutions to the challenge of the informal sector by universities and researchers; (iii) insurance products adapted to the activities of entrepreneurs; and (iv) research geared at supporting technical and financial partners for sub regional and regional institutions, in order to ensure the effective implementation of the entreprenant status in the entire OHADA community.