With Malawi ranked as the third topmost reformer in Africa on the ease of doing business, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha says government will sustain the gains and push for more reforms.
Mwanamvekha—who was Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism during the doing business environment success period under review—was speaking yesterday at the launch of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 in Lilongwe.
But at the event, Mwanamvekha was speaking on behalf of his successor, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa, who was unavailable.
He said the improved performance was a result of reforms being implemented to ease doing business.
In the report released on Monday, the World Bank Group has ranked Malawi the third topmost reformer in Africa and 10th in the world on the ease of doing business index, moving 23 steps up the ladder to 110 from 133 last year out of 190 economies.
This represents a 17 percent jump over the period, an improvement that makes Malawi one of the best investment destinations not just in Africa, but also globally.
Among other factors that have led to the sharp climb, Mwanamvekha cited the enforcement of the Credit Reference Bureau Amendment Act, which made it mandatory for financial institutions to provide information to the bureaus for consumer and commercial loans, the enactment of the Insolvency Act of 2016 that established priority rules inside and outside bankruptcy procedures and the reforms in dealing with construction permits.
As a result of the reforms, the country managed to move from position 101 to position six on the getting credit indicator and from position 162 to 138 on the resolving insolvency indicator.
Globally, the country also ranks in the top 10 reformers in the past year, having implemented four changes that improved the business environment in the areas of dealing with construction permits, getting credit, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.
On the distance to frontier metric, Malawi’s score went from 52.61 in doing business in 2017 to 58.94 in 2018, according to the report.
The increase of 6.33 points, which is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, means that the country has improved its business regulations.
With Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia, sub-Saharan Africa is the most represented region among the global top 10 improvers in the
Doing Business 2018 report.
In his remarks, World Bank country manager Greg Toulmin urged the country to improve its access to energy and ease of doing business to be competitive as a conducive business environment.
On his part, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) head of public private partnership Hope Chavula said the improvement is a reflection of commitment from government to provide a conducive environment.
But one analyst, while applauding the progress so far, said there is still more work to be done.
Finance and corporate strategy expert James Kamwachale Khomba—who is a professor at the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic—said an enabling business environment can only be achieved if all necessary infrastructure and facilities are in place.
He said: “We need undoubted energy and water supplies, better communications systems, roads, railway lines, air transport, supportive financing and banking facilities and more investments in mechanised farming and agro-processing systems. We have to review our business management and leadership styles as well.
“Such one-off kind of achievement will not assist us to realise our long-term vision as a nation if we are not able to sustain or even improve the same. We need to create more areas of sustainable development for the long-term socio-economic gains and improvements of our nation as Malawi.” n