Project Design

Business Licensing Reform: A Toolkit for Development Practitioners, IFC, 2006

    Business licensing is a prominent barrier to doing business in many countries. Relatively few regulatory reform programs have focused specifically on business licensing, so empirical evidence of licensing reform's benefits remains sparse. However, the evidence is clear that over-regulation and red tape are associated with lower levels of income, lower levels of productivity, higher levels of informality, and higher levels of corruption. As licensing is a key potential bottleneck in the business start-up process, the gains from licensing reform stand to be significant.

    This toolkit is a guide to business licensing reform on a national level in developing and transitional countries. It complements other WBG toolkits on sub-national simplification, business registration and inspections. The toolkit is intended to be a resource for managers and staff of donor-funded licensing reform projects, but will be of interest to others who intend to reform licensing and improve the business environment more generally.

    The toolkit is divided into three parts: Definition and Principles, the Process of Business Licensing Reform, and Country Case Studies of Business Licensing Reform. The eight case studies include two cases of successful reforms in high-income countries (Belgium and the Netherlands); successful reforms in low- and middle-income countries (India and Mexico); sector-specific licensing reform (Hungary); mixed reform results (Georgia); licensing reform in progress (Kenya); and unsuccessful reform (Belarus).

    Three appendices contain practical resources for project staff: a 'Licensing Law Checklist,' a menu of potential performance indicators for business licensing reform projects, and a sample project ToR.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Synthesis documents
    »Toolkits for Business Environment Reform Projects (last update: 2012)