Business Environment Reform

The DCED defines the business environment as a complex of policy, legal, institutional, and regulatory conditions that govern business activities (DCED, 2008). It is a sub-set of the investment climate. Business environment reform (BER) aims to reduce the costs and risks of business activity by improving poor government policies, laws and regulations, and by stimulating competition through new market entrants.

For more specific resources on adjusting BER programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the DCED knowledge pages on Adjusting PSD interventions in the short term, and Promoting economic recovery and resilience.

The DCED Business Environment Working Group have produced the following video introducing the approach:

At a glance: Short reads on BER by the DCED

Policy brief           Summary

Four-page brief summarising the findings of a review of the theory and practice on MSE-oriented business environment reforms.

Take a read

Four-page brief summarising the various models of preferential treatment of SMEs in public procurement as well as their impacts and lessons learnt.

Take a read

Four-page brief exploring the ways that BER can contribute to labour productivity improvements as well as good practices and policies in this field.

Take a read

Two-page summary of the DCED’s extensive review of experience and evidence in this area.

Take a read

DCED publications

DCED members are working through the Business Environment Working Group (BEWG) to review experience and develop good practice guidance on key aspects of BER. A full list of DCED publications on BER is available here. This section lists the most recent publications produced by the BEWG, and the Top 5 most downloaded BEWG resources during the last year.

Recent publications:

Top 5 downloads:

Implementing reforms in different contexts and areas of BER

Overarching tools and guidelines

Practical resources on key areas of business environment

Country diagnostics

Photo credits: Simon Davis/DFID; Tran Viet Duc/Bronwyn Cruden, Global Affairs; UNSOM/ Somali Ministry of Trade dialogue with youth innovators,; Canada DFID, solar energy,