The World Bank ease of doing business report for 2020 is out and Zimbabwe managed to register some significant improvements in the process. In terms of overall ranking, the country improved from position 155 in the world to 140 out of 190 countries that were included. Earlier Zimbabwe had already been listed among the top 20 reformers in the world prior to the publication of the report. However, the economic performance of the country doesn’t quite give the same picture. So let’s scrutinise the report card and see how Zimbabwe is really doing.
For the sake of providing relevant comparisons with previous years scores, we will not focus on rank changes but rather on score changes. Rank changes simply compare your nation with others while scores show how well your nation is doing. It’s also important to note that the data used for the report and all tests were done latest May 2019 and in the rollercoaster ride of a country we live in that represents a very long time and a lot has changed since then.
Where we improved
Starting a business
The procedure for starting business recorded a significant score improvement from 66.48 the previous year to 72.0 this year which the authorities will find well-pleasing. Also of interest is that the two test cases used for the study (one all-male company and one all-female company) had the same experience in starting the business.
Dealing with construction permits
This measure registered a massive jump with a score of 60.0 in this years report up from a lowly 48.55 in the previous year. It was in fact one of the areas we identified Zimbabwe did very poorly in the previous years report.
Getting credit surprising registered a score improvement from 55.0 the previous year to 65.0 in this years report. Its noteworthy here that the Getting Credit looks at the effectiveness of credit bureau and their networks in capturing and keeping credit information on individuals and companies in the country and not necessarily access to finance.
This measure also registered significant improvement from a score of 25.34 in the previous report to 32.9 in this years report. This was our poorest performance indicator last year and in spite of the significant improvement it remains our poorest indicator this time around.
Zimbabwe did not register any declines in scores across the board with the worst performances being those where no movement was no registered. So the hailing of the improvements in ranking is justified indeed. Of course one would have to wonder how we failed to register declines in scores like getting electricity.
What remains of concern are the areas where we continue to register poorly. Namely Resolving insolvency 32.9, Enforcing Contracts 39.7 and Getting Electricity 48.6. The critical area of enforcing contracts is one that requires attention as it is key to business.
Overall the score for Zimbabwe was 54.5, an improvement from last years 50.44 and thus translating into a 15 position jump in the index. Zimbabwe’s economy needs all the good news it can get, regardless of the source at this point.