African countries need to have harmonised business regulatory frameworks that talk to each other if regional integration is to be achieved in the continent, said the minister of trade and industry Rob Davies.
Addressing the opening session of the Regional Ease of Doing Business Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre today, Davies said “Africa is on a new growth trajectory and is recognised as the next growth frontier after Asia”.
Conference delegates came from various African countries including South Africa, Burundi, Namibia, Zimbabwe,Mauritius, Lesotho, Zambia and South Sudan are attending the conference which ends on Thursday. It is hosted by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
Davies said “Huge strides have been made economically as there is consensus that the continent needs to industrialise, and focus on the beneficiation of its minerals. We are also facing significant challenges as it is clear that the world is changing and the next decade will be different from the last one. As the issue of regional integration becomes a key focus, it is imperative to have harmonised systems of business regulation that talk to each other,” said Davies.
He added that a conducive and progressive business regulatory environment was required if the continent were to achieve most of the goals that are set in an effort to achieve economic growth and integration.
“If we want to attain all of these plans we must have a business regulatory framework which is conducive to foreign direct investments, domestic investments and contribution of the small enterprises which are critical. These plans need to be boosted and sustained through infrastructure development, cooperation, promoting investment and economic diversification. This conference gives us an opportunity to peer review ourselves in regard to practices that we engage in as we recognise that as much as good business regulation is a feature of creating a climate conductive to investment, bad regulation can be an obstacle to economic growth,” said Davies.
He added that South Africa has significantly eased doing business in the country through the passing and implementation of the new Companies Act. These efforts are continuing in the form of the new Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Codes of Good Practice and the development of the Licensing of Businesses Bill which is currently out for public comment.