In 2007, Senegal opened a Business Creation Support Office that vastly reduced the time required to register a business from two months to 48 hours. Before the creation of the office, foreign investors as well as local entrepreneurs had to deal with six different government agencies, each of which had its own requirements and procedures. The onerous undertaking discouraged business investment, kept significant revenue sources off government tax rolls, and created fertile ground for corruption. In 2006, President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the situation. Wade assigned the Agency for Investment Promotion and Major Works, or APIX, the task of making it possible to register a business in just two days. A small team from the agency examined the options and decided that a one-stop shop would best meet Senegal’s needs. The model required no legislative changes, and it allowed agencies to retain control over their procedures—while reducing red tape and letting APIX supervise the entire process. APIX leaders worked hard to win the cooperation of institutions and individual agents, and the Business Creation Support Office opened in downtown Dakar in November 2007. The institutions involved in registration sent representatives to work in the office, and APIX staff collected applications, supervised the office, and coordinated gradual improvements in procedures. After the office opened, entrepreneurs could complete the registration process at a single location and be done within 48 hours. By 2016, the office had further reduced the time required to a single day.
Maya Gainer, ISS Research Specialist, and Stefanie Chan and Laura Skoet of Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Dakar, Senegal, and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in January 2016. This case study was funded by the French Development Agency. Case published May 2016.