Business environment reform

Introduction

The DCED defines the business environment as a complex of policy, legal, institutional, and regulatory conditions that govern business activities. It is a sub-set of the investment climate and includes the administration and enforcement mechanisms established to implement government policy, as well as the institutional arrangements that influence the way key actors operate (e.g., government agencies, regulatory authorities, and business membership organisations including businesswomen associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, etc.).

Along with other private sector development initiatives, the business environment affects the performance of private enterprises in both the formal and informal economies. Business environment reform promotes the development of markets that encourage competition and enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of other development interventions. Many agencies consider a conducive business environment as one of the pre-requisites for economic growth and poverty reduction [DCED, 2008].

DCED Inter-Agency Database on Business Environment Reform

The DCED maintains an inter-agency database on business environment reform at www.business-environment.org which was established to share information about donor-supported work to enhance the enabling conditions for pro-poor growth. Today, you can find hundreds of technical documents on the database, organised by different programme phases, as well as overarching research and synthesis documents. The database also contains all case studies and other materials generated by the four conferences organised by the DCED’s Business Environment Reform Group to inform the development of the Donor Guidance document.

On this page you can find all of the DCED’s own key publications on Business Environment Reform, including guidance on issues ranging from business formalisation, quality infrastructure reform, political economy analysis and measuring results.

Practical guidance on supporting business environment reforms (2008)

In 2008, the DCED published “Supporting Business Environment Reforms. Practical Guidance for Development Agencies” (“Yellow Book”). Versions in different languages and supporting materials can be downloaded below.

  • BE Practical Guidance in English
  • BE Practical Guidance in French
  • BE Practical Guidance in Spanish
  • BE Practical Guidance in Arabic

Donor guidance annexes

Supporting Local and Regional Business Environment Reforms
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform (BER), published by the DCED in 2016, focuses how donor and development agencies can support Business Environment Reforms at local and regional levels.

Supporting Business Environment Reforms within Industry Sectors
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform (BER), published by the DCED in 2016, focuses how donor and development agencies can support Business Environment Reforms within industry sectors.

Gender and Business Environment Reform
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform (BER), published by the DCED in 2016, focuses on the theme of how donor and development agencies can implement gender sensitive business environment reform programmes. The Paper on which it is based can be downloaded from the following Section.

Supporting quality infrastructure in developing and transitional economies
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform, published by the DCED in 2014, synthesises key lessons on how donor agencies can support the development of the Quality Infrastructure in developing and transitional economies.

Measuring Business Environment Reform
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform (BER), published by the DCED in 2013, focuses on how to measure donor-supported BER results.

How BER can be complemented with industrial policy support
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform (BER), published by the DCED in 2013, focuses on how BER can be complemented through industrial policy support.

How BER can promote formalisation
This Annex to the Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform(BER), published by the DCED in 2011, focuses on how BER can address the informal economy and encourage the formalisation of informal enterprises.

  • Annex of the Practical Guidance on Formalisation in English
  • Annex of the Practical Guidance on Formalisation in French
  • Annex of the Practical Guidance on Formalisation in Spanish

Country-Level reviews of donor support to Business Environment Reform (2011)

In 2010, the DCED initiated a pilot project to review donors’ programmes and practices in support of BE Reform. Three countries were chosen: Kenya, Bangladesh and Rwanda. The report below presents findings from the first review.

Other DCED publications on BER

In addition to the Practical Guidance on BER and related annexes, the DCED Business Environment Working Group has also published other papers and reports on the theme, often as a basis for guidance development. These are listed below.

Other documents

Photo credits

Photo Credit: Tran Viet Duc/Bronwyn Cruden, Global Affairs Canada