2018 Ease of Doing Business Initiative conference, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire


From 26 to 28 November 2018, the World Bank Group partnered with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to host the ninth Ease of Doing Business Initiative conference. The conference, whose theme was “Improving the business climate and economic growth challenges in Africa”, gathered reform experts and policy makers to share best practice on Doing Business reforms. It was the first time the EDBI was hosted in West Africa and in a francophone country.

What is the EDBI conference?

The World Bank Group’s Advisory programs started supporting the EDBI conference to facilitate the promotion of good practice from the region in implementing business-friendly reforms measured by the Doing Business report. The first conference took place in Port Luis, Mauritius and gathered six countries. The initiative has become a continental learning platform, gathering participants from 32 Sub-Saharan countries at the conference in Abidjan. Rwanda will host the next EDBI conference in 2019.

Main conference recommendations

Delegates discussed how to integrate identification and implementation of business-friendly reforms in governments’ development plans, how to better measure private sector’s perception of the reform agendas through more efficient monitoring tools and how to better reflect private sector’s voice in the reform process. They also stressed on the need to encourage alternative solutions to SME financing, notably through solutions like venture capital and business angels.

List of EDBI 2018 participating countries



Burkina Faso



Cape Verde



The Gambia




The Kingdom of Eswatini









The Central African Republic

The Rep of Congo (Brazza)



Sierra Leone







Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice-President for Middle-East and Africa: “Conducive business environments are important for IFC to deliver its strategy in Africa. Reforms measured by Doing Business help create the conditions for IFC to invest and mobilize more private capital to address development challenges. That is why our Advisory programs work with governments in Africa to sustain their reform momentum”.

Adama Koné, Minister of Economy and Finance, Côte d’Ivoire: “Côte d’Ivoire is happy to welcome Africa’s community of reformers. Thanks to the new generation of reforms implemented, Côte d’Ivoire once again joined the list of top 10 reforming countries in the Doing Business 2019 report. Our objective by 20121 is to rank among the top 50 countries in the world where it is good to do business.”

Cemile Hacibeyoglu, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank Group: “Reforming business environment is a constant and strenuous process. Even though the region has made impressive strides in moving the needle in this area in recent years, a lot remains to be done for Sub-Saharan African countries to compete with the world’s best investment destinations. With this said, good practice exists in the region and our advisory programs have noted that the peer-to-peer learning platforms that we support are crucial to disseminate such good practice and help sustain the region’s continued progress in Doing Business rankings.”

Louise Kanyonga, Head of Strategy and Competitiveness, Rwanda Development Board, said: “It’s fitting for Rwanda to be hosting the milestone 10th edition of the EDBI conference next year as a long-standing reformer. We’re excited to share our experience when we’re celebrating being one of the most improved economies.”

Augustus Flomo, Deputy Minister for Economic Management, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, head of delegation of Liberia: “The president of Liberia has set up a public-private national committee. In this framework we begin the conversation around Doing Business and to expand how we can improve on Doing Business in Liberia. This conference is very important and is way to reinforce what we have started doing to improve investment climate”

About Sub-Saharan Africa and Doing Business

Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance in the Doing Business report has been steadily improving. In the Doing Business 2019 report, the region claimed 107 of the 314 reforms implemented worldwide, making it the most reforming region in the world. 40 out of the region’s 48 economies passed at least one reform improving their business environment, and four Sub-Saharan countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda and Togo- were listed among the Top 10 global reformers.

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