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Registering a company in Africa – 32 African countries compared – August 2011

Registering a company in Africa – 32 African countries compared – August 2011

Registering a company – faster in SA or the rest of Africa?

August 2011: The entire process of registering a new company in South Africa in the past took about 4 – 6 weeks but significant delays have been experienced in 2011 as widely reported in the media. Pieter Steyn, chairman of Lex Africa and director at Werksmans Attorneys, comments that they have been cases where it has taken up to three months to register a new company in South Africa.

“The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”) currently has a massive backlog of registration and other applications. The backlog can be largely attributed to the enactment of a new Companies Act, the bulk lodgment of applications for company registrations as well as the implementation of a new system by the CIPC. The Minister of Trade and Industry has committed to remedying the backlog so we hope that time periods will improve in the near future.”

In order to draw a comparison, members of Lex Africa, a network of corporate legal firms in 30 African countries, were asked how long it takes to have companies registered in their countries.

Please note that the below only offers estimates as to how long it takes to register a company in the various countries. The actual time required will vary depending on the type of company being registered.

Country approximate time to register a company
Angola: Three months to a year
Benin: One month
Botswana: Three weeks to a month
Burkina: 15 days
Burundi: One day
CAR: Seven days to five weeks
Chad: Two months
DRC: Two weeks
Egypt: Seven Days
Ethiopia: Six weeks
Gabon: One month
Ivory Coast: Two weeks
Kenya: One to two months
Lesotho: Four to five weeks
Madagascar: Three to four weeks
Malawi: 24 hours
Mali: Ten days
Mauritius: Domestic company: two days, Global Business Companies Five to Ten days
Mozambique: Two months
Namibia: Six to eight weeks
Niger: One month
Nigeria: Three to four weeks
Rwanda: 24 hours
Senegal: One week
Sudan: Four to six weeks
Swaziland: Three weeks
Tanzania: Seven days
Togo: One month
Uganda: 48 hours
Zambia: Four days
Zimbabwe: From six months to beyond a year

Steyn concludes “Ease of doing business is a vital element to attract foreign investment to a country and if South Africa wishes to remain the ‘gateway’ into Africa, it is imperative that quick, simple and efficient processes are put in place to ensure that the basics of doing business, such as company registration, are easily accessible for both local and foreign businessmen.”

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