12 Sub-Saharan African Countries Where It’s Easiest To Start A Business

By Peter Pedroncelli AFKI Original Published: June 8, 2017, 5:22 am
Start a businessEntrepreneurs at work on a startup idea. Photo: africanentrepreneurcollective

Starting a company is never simple, but in some places it is far easier to start a business than it is in others.

Africa is no different, and due to a number of factors such as regulation, requirements and government incentives, establishing a business in one part of the continent is not comparable to another.

The World Bank recently ranked economies using various factors, and one of those was the ease of starting a business.

Here are 12 sub-Saharan African countries where it is easiest to start a business.

Sources: AfricanBusinessCentral, WorldBank, TechCrunch, WeForum, HBR.

mobile senegal

Community solar mobile phone charger being tested in Yeuma, Senegal. Photo: blog.littlesun.com


Sneaking into the list at number 12, Senegal is ranked as one of the nations in sub-Saharan Africa where it is easiest to set up a new business, whether it be a tech business, a service industry firm or any other kind of enterprise.

Here Are 7 Challenges Facing African Tech Startups

Being able to start a business with ease is important for any economy, as well as job creation. Photo: African Business News


Niger may not always appear to be the most politically and socially stable of country’s on the African continent, but they can be proud to appear on this list as a country where opening a business is not hindered by over-regulation and other difficulties.

Community health workers display their mobile phones and solar chargers.
Photo: World Vision Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s economy was hit hard in recent years due to the Ebola virus and the nation’s struggles to contain it, but now some positive news concerning the easy of opening a business in the country is a step in the right direction for Sierra Leone’s economy.

Mauritania has one of the most open media environments in the Maghreb, BBC reports. Photo: Getty/bbc


Aside from providing one of the most open media environments in the Maghreb, Mauritania is also among the top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with regards to the ease of opening a business, such as a tech firm, according to the World Bank.

information and communication technology

An ICT bus in Rwanda (Photo: UN.org)


Rwanda is quickly embracing ICT and new technologies, with government projects aiming to increase connectivity and smart city tech across the country. With a government so receptive to tech, Rwanda’s place on this list is hardly a surprise.

A Burkina Faso shop sells solar cell panels in West Africa
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Burkina Faso

The West African nation of Burkina Faso is within the top seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the ease of opening a new business, which is an attractive measurement for most entrepreneurs, especially those looking to launch tech startups.

When these students in Benin graduate, they will be able to start a business with relative ease. © UNFPA Benin/Ollivier Girard


When online commerce platform WaystoCap looked to set up an office in West Africa, they selected Benin as their base, due to various factors, one of which was the ease of starting a new operation within the land-locked nation.

Solar power plant - South African retailers ranked for renewable energy

The solar power plant in Ivory Coast will ease pressure on the grid. Photo: Greenpeace Africa

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast has been attracting investors to the country with its new-found stability and booming economy, and it certainly helps that the government has worked to position the country as a growing tech and startup hub in West Africa, improving the ease of opening businesses as a result.

A tech business would not be out of place in Port Louis, Mauritius. Photo: wikipedia


Mauritius continues to be a shining light in sub-Saharan Africa, and on this particular list they have done well to place fourth. With the Mauritian coastline as the background, which tech entrepreneurs would not want to start a company on the stunning Indian Ocean islands?

Tuk-tuks are big business in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: samaa.tv


With Liberia fairing rather poorly in many of the other World Bank economy indicators such as the ability to get credit, electricity access and trading across borders, perhaps it is somewhat unexpected that it is easy to start a tech business in Liberia.

The Islands Of Sao Tome And Principe. Photo: Benoit Gysembergh/Getty

The Islands Of Sao Tome And Principe are ranked second in this list. Photo: Benoit Gysembergh/Getty

São Tomé and Príncipe

A surprising inclusion on this list, especially at number two, São Tomé and Príncipe makes it easy for entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running due to little regulation and the right conditions to allow businesses to be established with ease.

East Africa private sector

Entrepreneur Jean Etienne Niyibitegeka owns Umuco, an art and photo studio in Burundi. Photo: spark-online.org


Topping the list of sub-Saharan African countries that allow for businesses to be started with ease, Burundi can be proud of their World Bank ranking in this category, and will no doubt use this positive aspect to grow the economy.

Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.

Tags: , , , ,