MAPUTO–The Mozambican government, in partnership with the World Bank, has launched a sub-national version of the Bank’s annual Doing Business report to analyse and compare the business environment in Mozambique’s ten provincial capitals, and in four border posts.

It is being financed by the British and Swiss governments, as well as by the World Bank itself. Minister of Industry and Trade Ragendra de Sousa says that through the study it is intended to identify and remove the obstacles which hinder the entry of new investors into the Mozambican market, to increase employment, and to diversify the country’s economic base.

What we want as a government is to increase the number of companies. When there are only a few of us, relations between us become very personal and difficult to change. But when the business density increases, our relations become more impersonal and professional, he said at the launch of the initiative here Monday.

He hoped that the study would yield proposals for simplification of procedures and other reforms to make the business environment in the country more attractive for investors. The study would look in particular at four areas of the regulatory environment — starting up a business, registering property, enforcing contracts, and cross-border trade.

The representative of the World Bank in Mozambique, Mark Lundell, said the study would look at the experience of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in their interactions with the government and in the conduct of their businesses.

We believe this report will benefit the country as a tool to be used for healthy competition between cities, to encourage learning between peers, and to make recommendations in areas where improvement is required, he said.

Lundell believed that, based on this study, the government would have an instrument to help it design strategies for simplifying procedures and promoting competitiveness at local and provincial levels.

The methodology has mostly been borrowed from that used by the World Bank in drawing up its annual Doing Business reports. The latest such report, published in October last year, put Mozambique in 138th position out of 190 countries.