Africa has the reputation of a continent with fertile soils and vast natural resources. Beyond rich resources, Africa is also home to some of the top-ranked countries according to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.
Mauritius, for example, has a rating of 81.5 and is ranked 13 on the global rankings. The continent’s numerous untapped opportunities have made it attractive to investors, entrepreneurs, and expatriates worldwide. As the fastest urbanising region globally, Africa’s fast-growing economy is the hot cake for multinational corporations looking to multiply their profits.
Since 2010, the continent has witnessed enormous innovation, particularly within the digital technology space. Its huge number of highly educated, and skilled population has made it an epicentre for transformative growth. According to the World Economic Forum, Africa is home to 50% of the world’s fastest-growing economies. As recently as 2018, countries like Ghana and Ethiopia recorded outstanding real GDP growth north of 8%, almost three times the world average.
While many African countries are ripe for capitalisation, the growth of your business in Africa will not depend on autopilot. Doing business in Africa, like any other environment, is unique. You have to get many things right. And this is the reason you need to choose an environment where the process is easier, thanks to modern business reforms and policies. Then, your business can wrestle with some big multi-billion dollar African businesses like Nigeria’s Dangote Group, South Africa’s DSTV, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya’s Equity Bank, and the ubiquitous MTN.
Below is the list of the best countries with ease of doing business in Africa if you want to have a piece of the emerging market’s pie. Be sure to read to the end as there are notable mentions that didn’t make the list but remain fertile grounds for business growth.
Mauritius may not be the first country to pop on your list when thinking of doing business in Africa. However, this country has set the pace for other African countries. Placed 13th in the latest World Bank ease of doing business rankings, this small nation has solved most issues any investor would face.
Mauritius is a politically and socially stable economy that ranked 21st among the most peaceful countries in the world. Its democracy is one of the strongest on the continent. Plus, its tax laws are pretty relaxed for investors. The African country recently signed a trade agreement with China, making it a transportation and financial hub.
Since 2000, Rwanda’s economy has grown at an average of 6% year over year. With a 76.5 rating, the Sub-Saharan African country ranks 38th on the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings. Rwanda is ranked number two in the world for ease of property registration, second only to New Zealand.
In recent years, the East-African nation has implemented the most business reforms in Africa. The country has put in place electronic systems that have helped replace its stifling bureaucracies. Now, taxpayers can issue value-added tax invoices using free software.
In less than ten years, the North African country has gone from 114th to 53rd on the ease of doing business rankings. Morocco has become Europe’s pathway to Africa, also becoming a leading financial hub in the process.
The country expects to grow 3.1% on average in the next few years as its tourism and manufacturing sectors have been selected to drive economic growth.
According to the World Bank, Kenya is one of the world’s top performers in Starting a Business and Getting Credit. The country, ranked 56th globally, has collaborated with American giant IBM to build technological solutions that can help its various agencies solve diverse business issues, including property registration.
Kenya’s economy has witnessed enormous growth between 5 and 6% in recent years. The country is also one of the major ICT hubs on the continent, home to many big tech startups in several sectors, including fintech and transportation.
Presently the 78th country on the ease of doing business ranking, Tunisia boasts an 80% literacy rate, one of the highest in the world. The North African nation also has one of the youngest populations globally, with the average Tunisian in the 18-25 age bracket. This implies that there are numerous educated young workers in Tunisia whose energy and resources can be channelled towards productivity.
Tunisia is predominantly an Arabic speaking country. Nonetheless, many of the people also speak French and English fluently.
South Africa’s 60 million population remains one of the most productive on the continent. The country has the second-largest economy in Africa, after Nigeria, and is also unarguably the most industrialised nation in sub-Saharan Africa. Ranked 84th on the ease of doing business, South Africa is possibly the prime choice among other countries mentioned so far.
The country has put in place advanced financial and legal structures, making it a hub for international organisations in Africa, including MTN and Multichoice.
Zambia is 85th on the World Bank index and is a relatively politically stable environment for business. In the past years, the Zambian government has privatised some of the nation’s public corporations to attract foreign investors—one of such privatisation efforts is in the mining sector. The country remains the largest producer of copper. Its agricultural sector has also been a thriving sector in recent years. According to the World Bank, Zambia has improved in certain areas like paying taxes and getting credit.
With about 8 million people, the small French-speaking West African country is ranked 97th overall on the index. The country has moved from its previous position of 137th thanks to its many business reforms – one of which is the online platform where developers can obtain construction permits and save time when building new structures.
Seychelles is the 100th country in the world when it comes to the ease of doing business. This beautiful island nation is located in the Indian Ocean. Its tourism sector has received major attention from foreign investors who see the tourism potentials of the country as well as the record number of tourists the country commands each year.
Seychelles also offers incentives for foreign investors. In doing so, it has seen enormous investments in its telecommunications sector, which has been dubbed one of the most advanced in Africa.
Ivory Coast, as it is called in English, ranks 110th place on the ease of doing business rankings. The French-speaking West African country is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. It has built on the back of a stable political environment in recent years, and the country is expected to grow at an average of 7% in the coming years.
Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Egypt may have missed out on the podium; they remain some of Africa’s strongest capitalist nations. Nigeria is the continent’s most populated and leading economy. Egypt is the leading international commerce hub in Africa.