When it comes to conducting business, the World Bank declares the Democratic Republic of Congo is the worst country in the world. The reason? Mostly the sheer amount of corruption, fostered by complex bureaucracy and a resistance to reforms.
The World’ Bank’s Doing Business report for 2009, which measures the expected ease or difficulty of investing in 181 countries around the globe based on their regulatory climate and enforcement policies, ranked the DRC dead last. It held the same position in last year’s report.
Adamou Labara, DRC representative for the World Bank’s International Fianance Corporation, said “It wasn’t a big surprise. Last year, there was no major reform.” He told Reuters it was in part because of fear of change.
In fact, the DRC’s ranking declined in seven of the ten specific business activity categories, improving only in the the ability to trade across borders, enforce contracts, and close a business.
In some key measures, the DRC is woefully behind even other countries in the region. It takes 155 days to start a new business in the Congo, for example, versus 48 in the region. Need a construction permit? Count on 322 days in the DRC as opposed to 271 in the region.
The nation has been governed by kleptocrats of one type or another since the time of King Leopold, of course, so it’s no surprise that corruption is the rule of the day. Even after the latest war ended in 2003, government loyalsts and rebels continued the tradition from their key jobs in ministries and public companies.