The Ease of Doing Business is an assessment of a country’s overall business environment based upon a set of indicators compiled by the World Bank Doing Business project.
The index ranks countries against each other based on how the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation stronger protections of property rights.
With “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” as the new mantra, a concerted effort has been made to improve Zimbabwe’s Ease of Doing Business index which currently lies at 159 of 190. This has been done through streamlining the regulatory and compliance framework for investments coming into Zimbabwe.
A critical body facilitating the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA). ZIA is the country’s investment promotion body set up to promote and facilitate both foreign direct investment and local investment as a one stop Investment shop for quicker and easier facilitation of investment. Together with other regulators, ZIA will ultimately become a one stop shop which will streamline the process and timelines required to establish and operate a business in Zimbabwe. There have also been efforts towards digitalising process such as tax registration and company name searches, so these can be done online as opposed to in person.
Commercial law firms in Zimbabwe also play a pivotal role in assisting investors with the various licensing involved. The commercial law firms have become key drivers in ensuring the ease of doing business and navigating the legal and economic environment. Engaging the right advisor is essential in ensuring that an investment is structured, permitted and protected.
Typically, the following are required when starting a business in Zimbabwe:
- Company Registration
- ZIA Licensing
- Indigenization requirements (for reserved sectors, diamond and platinum mining only)
- Operational Permits (sector specific)
- Residence and Work Permits issued by Immigration
- Exchange Control Authority of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe approval (where foreign funds or obligation are involved).