GABORONE, November 1, 2016 – With an overall ranking of 71 out 190 economies, Botswana maintained previous position on the ease of doing business index, according to Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, released on the 25th of October. This year, the country also showed a slight improvement in the distance to frontier score (a measurement of the gap between an economy’s performance and best practice) of 0.16 percentage points; currently 65.55 percent compared to 65.39 percent the previous year.
In the region, Botswana ranks third, with Mauritius being the highest ranked (49) among Sub-Saharan Africa economies, followed by Rwanda (56). The report also notes that Botswana implemented a reform over the course of the last year in the area of Dealing with Construction Permits by abolishing the requirement to submit a rates clearance certificate in order to obtain a building permit.
“Botswana’s position on the Doing Business has been steady over the past several years,” said Elene Imnadze, World Bank Botswana Country Representative, “While retaining its spot among the best ranked economies in the region, it still lags behind many of the world’s best practices. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest number of reforms globally – this year 37 of the region’s 48 economies implemented a record 80 reforms. Botswana is encouraged to step up the pace of its efforts in order to keep up with this fast pace reforms in coming years.”
This year’s Doing Business report includes, for the first time, a gender dimension in three indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. While in Botswana there are no gender differences. For example, women can start a business in the same way as men. Yet, 13 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa require additional hurdles for women entrepreneurs.
The Paying Taxes indicator has been expanded to cover post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refund. The report finds that the region has room for improvement in these new areas. In Botswana, similar to some economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, taxpayers are exposed to a field audit whereby the auditor visits the taxpayers.
The report highlighted that Sub-Saharan Africa economies underperform in the areas of Getting Electricity Trading Across Borders and Dealing with Construction Permits. For example, it takes an average of 120 days to obtain a permanent electricity connection to the grid in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to the OECD high-income countries in which it takes 76 days, this shows that Botswana is almost on the same level with OECD countries in the time it takes to get connected to the grid, as it takes only 77 days to obtain electricity connection.