Liberia launches n ew r egistries »Aiming to reduce the dozen procedures required to establish a business to just five; the time needed from 68 to 20 days; and the cost from $819 to $119, Li beria has launched a modern business registries network. Th e new one-stop business registries in the country’s three main cities, Monrovia, Ga nta and Bu chanan, will greatly simplify and speed up the process of starting a business. Previously, a prospective business had to liaise with several ministries and follow lengthy administrative procedures. Th e one-stop model means that all transactions linked with registering a business will take place under one roof. Th e project received technical assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) partnering with the Investment Climate Facility (ICF). Manual registration and past paper records are now fully digitised and the focus will continue to be on capacity building.
h e Minister of Commerce and Industry, Miata B eyslaw (above), commented, “Th e government of Li beria believes that enterprise formalisation will create a catalytic effect to private sector development, job creation and poverty alleviation – a nd to achieve this, we have prioritised several reforms. We are grateful to the IFC, the World Ba nk and the ICF, who are contributing to this effort and are calling on the private sector to increase their formalisation and play a vital role in the economic growth of Li beria.”
h e ICF has also been involved in a project to modernise the country’s customs administration in order to reduce the time and cost of the processing of imports and exports. Th is has included the training of customs staff, based at Freeport, who are now computer literate and can operate a new automated system.
76ebCiscoSystemshas estimated that the world’s wireless devices moved three ‘exabytes’ (3eb) of data in 2010. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes while one byte is the digital information needed to transmit a single character, like a letter or number. The company says that, by comparison, the Alexandria Library holds 500,000 scrolls of literature and calculates that at 2 kilobyts for each scroll, the library stores one gigabit of information – or one billionth of an exabyte.w
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Administration Transport Border Transport bottlenecks tha t stifle trade flows A snapshot of the amount of time taken to move goods from ports to landlocked countries reveals the variability of port efficiencies, road conditions, border formalities and administrative delays.
Port alth Water and sanitation drive in La ke Vi ctoria basin To improve the livelihoods and health of communities in the Lake Victoria Basin, the East African Community (EAC) has signed an agreement worth $108m with the African Development Fund (ADF) to reverse the pollution of the lake and improving sustainable water supply and sanitation infrastructure.
It will finance the second phase of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme, focusing on water supply, hygiene and environmental sanitation, urban drainage improvement, capacity building and project management. The AfDB Kenya Field Officer, James Opio-Omoding, says the programme offers a unique opportunity for the five EAC states to strengthen their cooperation and the sharing of important experiences in safe water supplies and improved sanitation. The ADF is contributing $108m while the five EAC partner states will be contributing $13m.
Meanwhile, a private sector sponsored initiative by the Swiss-based company Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is distributing some 900,000 Family LifeStraw units to rural homes in Kenya’s Western Province, bordering Lake Victoria. VF, best known across Africa for mosquito bed nets, is a specialist disease-control textile manufacturer, and it is distributing the units free of charge to purify water to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) quality. Having received approval for the scheme, VF will utilise carbon credits to offset its near $30m investment, and it pledges to reinvest this in further LifeStraw programmes in other Kenyan provinces and neighbouring EAC countries. Science MUST is inaugurated Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has laid the foundation stone of Malawi’s new science university in the southern district of Thyolo. Having taken seven years to finalise, the new Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) campus has been financed by a $70m loan from China and is to be built on 650 acres of land that the president has privately donated. MUST is designed to train a pool of experts in areas such as environmental science and African traditional medicine, providing an academic centre of excellence that will offer undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral study facilities as well as providing a platform for African scientists to share knowledge.
MUST has already established links with other internationally acclaimed institutions. Collaborations with the Association of Commonwealth Universities and Unesco will strengthen the university’s capacity and ensure access to the latest scientific and technological developments and faculties will include an academy of medical sciences, a technology institute and a school of climate change and earth science.
African Business | June 2011 /1
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