Reformers’ Club Honors African Development Bank Group President
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank Group recently in Washington DC honored the African Development Bank Group President and Rwanda’s Former Minister of Finance, Donald Kaberuka, for helping to introduce reforms in the business environment while he was leading his country’s ministry of finance.
Rwanda introduced a specialized commercial division in the high court and increased the number of authorized notaries from one to over 50 which resulted in new business registration time falling from 21 days to 16 days. During the same period, Rwanda also decreased its corporate income tax rate from 35 to 30 percent.
In order to celebrate the success of these and other reform efforts around the world, the World Bank Group and USAID have established an annual Reformers' Club event to honor the top reformers worldwide. The reformers that were recently celebrated were the initial inductees into the club.
"Our goal is to recognize leaders who have the vision and courage to undertake the often difficult reforms necessary to create a vibrant private sector that is not constrained by excessive regulatory burdens," said Randall L. Tobias, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator.
Speaking on the occasion, World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz, said "today we recognize global champions of reform, leaders who have fostered a better environment for entrepreneurs in their countries. The members of this Reformers' Club have demonstrated that straightforward measures can be a catalyst for more jobs, a stronger private sector, and higher economic growth."
Creating new jobs is the best way to reduce poverty, and reforms that make it easier to do business help achieve that goal. The top Doing Business reformer of the year, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Zurab Nogaideli, and his government created 85,000 new jobs in the private sector in 2006 alone. In Guatemala, another top reformer, reforms in property registration resulted in a 40 percent increase in the construction of private housing. Rwanda and Tanzania, the top reformers in Africa, have grown at 6 and 6.5 percent a year, respectively, since 2000.
"Africa is speeding the pace of reform, with Rwanda and Tanzania showing the way, and this is a very positive development," said Michael Klein, World Bank/IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development and IFC Chief Economist. "Big improvements are possible. Africa still has the most complex business regulations in the world. But if an African country adopts the region's best practices in the 10 areas covered by Doing Business, it would rank 11th globally. African countries would greatly benefit from new enterprises and jobs, which can come with a more business-friendly environment."
Other reformers honored for initiating and implementing reforms are:
- Zurab Nogaideli, Prime Minister of Georgia, as the top business environment reformer of the year.
- Agustín Carstens, Secretary of Finance, Mexico
- Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment, Egypt
- Hugo Eduardo Beteta Méndez-Ruiz, Minister of Finance, Guatemala
- Vincent Van Quickenborne, Secretary of State for Regulatory Simplification, Belgium
- Charles Mutalemwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Tanzania
The Doing Business project is based on the efforts of more than 5,000 local experts - business consultants, lawyers, accountants, government officials, and leading academics around the world, who provide methodological support and review.