Ahead of Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea and Liberia; Sierra Leone ranks 4th in West Africa, according to the 2016 World Bank Doing Business report.

Doing Business World Bank

The 2016 report is the 13th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it, the World Bank says. The World Bank further states that its Doing Business report “measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking: 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”.

Analysis relative to West Africa’s top three and Sierra Leone’s two neighbours.

This year’s report shows that even though Ghana, Lesotho and Cote d’Ivoire rank as the top three in West Africa, Sierra Leone performs better than All three in the ‘Starting a Business’ category. This means that it is easier to start a business in Sierra Leone (with a global rank of 88 in that category) than in all countries in West Africa except Liberia and Senegal both of which rank 37 and 85 respectively.

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In ‘Dealing With Construction Permits’ Sierra Leone, with a global rank of 142, is also by far better than Lesotho (172), Liberia (174), Guinea (166) and Senegal 148.

In ‘Protecting Minority Investors’; Sierra Leone is also the 3rd best, ranking 88 behind Lesotho and Liberia. And while the report shows that in ‘Enforcing Contracts, Sierra Leone outperformed Ghana by11points, Cote D’Ivoire by 15 points, Guinea by 126 points, Liberia by 78 points and Nigeria by 79 points; in ‘Resolving Insolvency’, Sierra Leone also outpaced Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria.

Sierra Leone’s weakest points, relative to Ghana, Lesotho and its two neighbours- Guinea and Liberia- are in ‘Getting Electricity, ‘Getting Credit’ and in Registering Property’. While it ranks slightly better than Liberia by 2 points in ‘Getting Electricity and Registering of Property’; it underperformed relative to Guinea in those two categories by 19 and 13 points respectively.

In ‘Paying Taxes’, Sierra Leone also compares relatively better than Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, much as it does better than Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria in ‘Trading Across Border’.

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In the year on progression, Sierra Leone maintains its 2015 score on the ‘Enforcing Contract’ and ‘Resolving Insolvency’ categories but while it records only a point drop in five of the indicators; it also loses 5 points in the ‘Starting a Business’ categories, two in the ‘Getting a Credit’ and three in the ‘Registering of Property’ categories.

Analysts say Sierra Leone’s performance is commendable given the challenges of Ebola and the fall of the price of its main export iron ore.

With the strides being undertaken in the electricity sector and with the launch of the E-Governance Platform and the SME Agency by President Ernest Bai Koroma, there is every likelihood that Sierra Leone could perform even better in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business Ranking.