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Doing Business: Botswana improves but slides in ranking

Botswana is ranked 81 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The rank of Botswana deteriorated to 81 in 2017 from 71 in 2016.

Ease of Doing Business in Botswana averaged 60.50 from 2008 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 81 in 2017 and a record low of 39 in 2008. Doing Business 2018 is themed ‘Reforming to Create Jobs’ and places Botswana among the top 5 best economies in sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to ease of Doing Business. The country trails behind Mauritius (25) and Morocco (69) and Kenya (80). The report notes that Sub-Saharan Africa has the widest variation in performance among the areas measured by Doing Business, with  Mauritius standing at 25 in the ranking and Somalia at 190.

In the last report (2017) Botswana managed to move a place up following the country’s decision to make it easier to deal with construction permits by streamlining procedures. This was achieved by abolishing the requirement to submit a rates clearance certificate. Although Botswana had made significant strides in other areas for the 2018 Doing Business report, other countries appear to be moving at a much quicker pace hence the Botswana position of 81 out of 190 countries assessed by the World Bank.

Doing Business focuses on regulation that affects small and medium-size enterprises, operating in the largest business city of an economy, across 11 areas. Ten of these areas—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also publishes indicators on labour market regulation which are not included in the distance to frontier score or ease of doing business ranking.

“Botswana remains among the top 5 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa to do business”, said Xavier Furtado, the World Bank Group’s Country Representative to Botswana. “This year’s Doing Business report recognized the steps Botswana’s authorities have taken, making it easier to trade across borders as well as to file and pay taxes. The situation for entrepreneurs in Botswana has certainly improved, but not as quickly as in other countries. Economies around the world, including in Sub-Saharan Africa, adopted a record number of business reforms for a second consecutive year, making the competition very tight.”

Mr. Furtado went on to say that, “Also of importance is Botswana’s ‘Distance to the Frontier’ score, which reflects the gap between Botswana’s standing and international best practice in those areas covered by the survey. We are pleased to note that Botswana has, over time, managed to close this gap. Going forward, the World Bank Group will continue to support Botswana in undertaking the necessary reforms.”

According to the 2018 report Botswana made registering property more difficult by reducing the efficiency of its Registrar of Deeds as it implements the computerization of manual records. Botswana made paying taxes easier by establishing an online system for filing and paying taxes. Furthermore Botswana made trading across borders easier by implementing a new automated customs data management system.

Doing Business measures aspects of business regulation and their implications for firm establishment and operations. It does not include all the issues that are relevant for businesses’ decisions, but it does cover important areas that are under the control of policy makers. Governments worldwide recognize the economic and political benefits of improved business regulation. In fact, 119 of the 190 economies measured by Doing Business 2018 enacted at least one business regulation reform in 2016/17. Of these, 79.8% implemented at least one reform for a second consecutive year and 64.7% for a third.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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