Malawi has failed to sustain gains made last year on improving the business environment, slipping by one place on the World Bank Doing Business Index published yesterday.
The country has moved to position 111 from 110 out of 190 economies with an overall score of 59.59 on the distance to frontier yardstick.
Last year, Malawi was the third most improved in Africa on the index, moving up 23 steps from 133 the previous year to 110 out of 190 economies.
Globally, Malawi is ranked among the top 10 reformers in the past year having implemented four reforms that improved the business environment in the areas of dealing with construction permits, access to credit, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.
In the region, Mauritius (20), Rwanda (29) Kenya (61), South Africa (82), Botswana (86), Zambia (87), Seychelles (96)Lesotho, (106) and Namibia (107) are the top most performers.
The Malawi Government was banking on jumping into the top 100 on the index by sustaining the gains made and implementing several reforms through technical working groups which were already set.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism officials were yet to respond on the index outcome yesterday.
But Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said the business community is not happy with the progress Malawi is making to improve the business environment.
He said: “This [slight slump] just shows that we are stuck as we have also failed to maintain our position. To us, the businesses, we feel we are not moving forward. And the situation on the ground could even be worse.”
In a statement accompanying the report, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim observed that governments have the enormous task of fostering an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and small and medium-size enterprises.
“Sound and efficient business regulation is critical for entrepreneurship and a thriving private sector. Without them, we have no chance to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity around the world,” he said.
Earlier, the bank cautioned Malawi on the electricity supply challenges, which it said poses a threat to the country’s sustainability on the gains made on the World Bank Doing Business Index.
Tabling the K1.5 trillion 2018/19 National Budget in May this year, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said notwithstanding the conducive macroeconomic environment and improvements in doing business that have lately prevailed in the country as highlighted above, government recognises that supply-side constraints such as intermittent power supply, among others, are still impeding private sector economic activities.