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23 August 2011 | Adam Leach
Botswana, South Africa and Namibia are the best places to do
business in southern Africa, according to a report by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
South Africa and Botswana were rated as having a “good”
operational environment, while Namibia was rated as “moderately good” in RMB’s Where to Invest in Africa, report,
published last week. The operational environment in Angola and Zimbabwe was
reported to be ‘very poor’.
The research concluded that, in general, the wealthier
countries, excluding wealth from oil, had a healthier operational environment.
In addition, it claimed that landlocked countries, excluding Botswana, had
poorer environments. In terms of the major areas of concern for businesses,
corruption was once again cited as a major factor, with 13 per cent of
respondents identifying it.
The report rated
the countries by combining the data from The World Bank’s Ease of Doing
Business Index, The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, The
Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
Other key issues in the region, identified in the report,
include poor infrastructure, inefficient bureaucracy, tax regimes and workforce
issues. Overall, South Africa was rated as the best African country in which to
invest in the African continent, scoring 5.6, compared with Botswana, 3.9,
Angola, 3.5, Mozambique, 3.3, Namibia, 3.0, Lesotho, 2.0 and Swaziland, 1.8.
While the report rated it as only “moderately corrupt”, which
is comparatively good for the region, there have been calls in South Africa to
take further action against corruption. In
a speech last week, South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan told members of the board of The
Institute of Internal Auditors to ask “tough questions” of both public andprivate sector organisations to root out poor procurement.
Speaking at the 14th annual National Internal Audit
Conference, he said: “Now is the time to play your part in ensuring the prudent
use of resources, ensuring that organisational policies are followed and operations