HILARY JOFFE: Doing better for the economy by focusing on Doing Business
The rankings measure the regulatory environment in which private-sector companies, especially small and medium-sized companies, do business
One of the more unexpected questions President Cyril Ramaphosa was asked on Thursday when he met business and other leaders heading to the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos was about SA's ranking on the World Bank's Doing Business index. SA's position has deteriorated to 82nd, out of 190 countries, from 69th five years ago and a record best of 32nd in 2008. Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala's question was: what is SA's ambition for the next year's ranking, and what actions could get us there? The short answer is we don't seem to have an aspiration for the ranking. But we should, if SA wants the job creation it aspires to. And the question is a particularly pertinent one ahead of a forum such as the WEF, which is a kind of competitiveness contest, particularly for emerging markets such as SA. Countries such as Rwanda and Georgia have, famously, focused on ratcheting up their Doing Business rankings in order to get themselves on to the radar screens of the world's big multinationals ...