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The World Bank and IFC in Collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone are hosting a high-level event called: Doing Business in Sierra Leone: A Case of International Competitiveness or Growth Opportunities for Local Business?

Freetown, Sierra Leone. February 26, 2013—A high-level event on reforming the business regulatory environment and improving international competitiveness for Sierra Leone has been hosted by IFC and World Bank in Freetown today. Minister of Trade, Usmain Boie Kamara was among the guest speakers at the event.
The event highlighted the recently released World Bank and IFC report: Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises , which finds Sierra Leone to be among the top 15 economies that improved their business regulatory environment the most out of 174 economies since 2005.
Besides Sierra Leone, other African economies that have improved substantially since 2005 include Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Angola, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Carolin Geginat, a Senior Private Sector Development Specialist with the World Bank Group, said “Formalizing a new business has become significantly easier in Sierra Leone in the last years. It used to take more than 6 months to register a commercial property in 2005 versus a little more than 2 months today. Similarly, in 2005, a young entrepreneur would have had to put up close to 10 times the average income per capita to get her new business registered. Today she has to pay only a tenth of this amount -- which is still high, but it’s an important improvement compared to the past.”  
In the past nine years, Doing Business Reports have reported on a total of 20 regulatory reforms implemented by the government of Sierra Leone, two of which were implemented in the past year. In the last year Sierra Leone improved access to credit information by establishing a public credit registry at its central bank and guaranteeing borrowers’ right to inspect their personal data. In addition, Sierra Leone made registering property easier by computerizing the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment.
Nevertheless, challenges persist, and more can be done to reduce the administrative burdens for local entrepreneurs. The country currently still ranks 140 out of 185 economies world-wide on the Ease of Doing Business . Areas with room for improvement include the process for construction permitting and the court system. In Sierra Leone, obtaining construction permits takes roughly 8 months, compared to just over 3 months in Burundi. To enforce a contract in the case of a small commercial dispute, an entrepreneur in Freetown spends close to a year and half – 9 more months than in Kigali, Rwanda – and it can cost him more than the disputed amount in attorney fees, court and enforcement costs.
Examples of other economies in Sub-Saharan Africa show that business regulatory reform requires a committed long term view to reform. Starting in 2000, Rwanda developed a strong institutional pipeline for designing and implementing business regulation reforms – substantially improving access to credit, streamlining procedures for starting a business, reducing time to register property, simplifying cross-border trade and making courts more accessible for resolving commercial disputes.
“Sese Gadzekpo, IFC Advisory Services Coordinator, said, "IFC is committed to Sierra Leone's economic growth by supporting small business development and improvements to the country's investment climate. Through our Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), we are helping Sierra Leone build a stable recovery and strong future. We are encouraged by the achievements of Sierra Leone's public and private sectors."
About the Doing Business report series
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and protecting investors. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 185 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 10 th edition of the global Doing Business report series. For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit . Join us on Facebook .
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. For more information, please visit , , and .
World Bank classification of countries and regions:
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit .
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