South Africa has been beaten to a pulp by the modest island of Mauritius as the best African country to do business with, according to American business magazine Forbes’ ‘Best Countries For Business 2016’ report.
Pan African development website Elicit Africa reports Forbes listed the world’s 139 best countries to do business, with Sweden, New Zealand and Hong Kong making the top of the list. Haiti, The Gambia and the Republic of Chad in Central Africa are sitting right at the bottom.
Elicit Africa says “factors taken into account for the listing are property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. The list also indicates gross domestic product (GDP), GDP per capita and the balance of trade as a percentage of GDP, indicating the balance between imports and exports”.
Listed 39th is Mozambique, the top rated African country described by Forbes as a country which has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. “Investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius’ textile sector has taken advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a preferential trade program that allows duty free access to the US market, with Mauritian exports to the US growing by 40% from 2000 to 2014.”
The report says Mauritius’ sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped to mitigate negative effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew in the 3-4% per year range in 2010-14, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe. Growth in the US and Europe fostered goods and services exports, including tourism, while lower oil prices kept inflation low in 2015.
Mauritius is a full nine paces ahead of South Africa, who could only manage the 48th spot, closely followed by Morocco at 51, Namibia at 63, Botswana at 68 and Cape Verde at 70.
In it’s analyses of the list, IT News Africa reports that it is proof that Africa is rich in natural resources, has a hardworking population, and has ‘huge gaps and opportunities for anyone who wants to succeed in business’.
Drawing from the Forbes list, IT News Africa highlights the ’15 Best Countries For Business in Africa’, which are:
“The economic and transport hub of East Africa” at 105th overall. “Although poor infrastructure continues to hamper Kenya’s potential for economic growth, the country ranks highly in Innovation, 36th, and Investor Protection, 80th.
Northeast African country Egypt, 103rd in the overall list, has been characterised by a uncertain political, policy and security since 2011. “Egypt performs favourably in the ranks of red tape, 34th, and market performance, 2nd.”
West African coastal country Liberia is ranked 96th overall. “Liberia is a low income nation that relies heavily on foreign assistance. It is blessed with the climate for agriculture and is rich in mineral resources. Important rankings are 33rd in Red Tape and 66th in Tax Burden rating.”
12) Ghana Ghana is a West African country, which is ranked 90th in the overall list. “Ghana has a market based economy with relativity few policy barrier to trade and investment. Ghana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and with ratings of 36th Personal Freedom and 53rd in Property Rights.”
Completely landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho is ranked 88th in the overall list. Although Lesotho has a heavy reliance on South Africa, their ratings of 47th in Trade Freedom and 59th in Corruption sees them placed high on the list.
Ranked 87th overall, North African country Tunisia has long been hailed as an African success story due to its diversified market-orientated economy. Top rankings include Market Performance, 39th, and Personal Freedom, 42nd.
Southern African country Zambia, ranked 86th overall, has had one of the fastest growing economies over the last 10 years. “In spite of Zambia’s lack of diversification and over reliance on copper trading their rankings of 51st in Tax Burden and 66th in Innovation.”
Senegal is a West African country that is placed 81st in the overall list. The economy of this country is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture. Although the country has a heavy reliance on direct foreign investment, donor assistance and remittances, their rankings in Personal Freedom, 42nd, and Innovation, 50th, sees Senegal ranked as the 8th best country for business in Africa.
East African country Rwanda is placed 78th in the overall list. It is a rural country where 90% of its population is involved in sustenance agriculture and minerals. Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange are tourism, minerals, coffee and tea. It boasts rankings such as 33rd in Property Rights and 47th in Innovation.
6) Cape Verde:
An Island off the northwest coast of Africa, Cape Verde is number 70 in the overall list. The economy is service-oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services. Although the country suffers with a poor natural resource base, they are ranked 1st for Personal Freedom and 14th in Monetary freedom, which sees them placed as Africa’s 6th best country for business.
This Southern African country, ranked 68th overall, fueled by diamond mining has maintained one of the worlds highest economic growth rates since 1996. A downturn in the global diamond market as well as water and power shortages have seen Botswana growth slow slightly but with rankings such as 28th in Corruption and 44th in Property Rights, Botswana is Africa’s 5th best country for business.
The Southern African country is ranked 63rd on the overall list. Namibia is the worlds 5th largest producer of Uranium and has an economy that is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of natural mineral resources for export. Namibia is ranked 5th in Market Performance and 55th in Trade Freedom, this sees them ranked 4th in this list.
“Africa’s most northern country Morocco, 51st on the overall list, has taken advantage of its proximity to Europe and their reasonably low labour costs to build a diverse, open-market economy. Despite Morocco’s economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, particularly in rural areas.” Important rankings include 17th in Market Performance and 21st in Monetary Freedom.
2) South Africa
At the Southern tip of Africa, South Africa is ranked 48th in the overall list. South Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world. Unemployment, poverty and inequalities in South Africa are among the highest in the world but with their ratings in Investor Protection, 22nd, and Property Rights, 30th, South Africa is the 2nd best country for business in Africa.
This Island off the coast of east Africa is ranked 39th in the overall list. Transformed from a low-income agricultural based economy into a diversified upper middle-income economy with growing financial, industrial and tourism sectors along with sound economic policies and prudent banking practices backs up Mauritius’s ranking. Highly ranked in Trade Freedom, 4th, and Property Rights, 34th, Mauritius is the best country for business in Africa.