A new fully digital service enables any entrepreneur in Benin to create and register a business on their mobile phone and receive official incorporation within two hours. The ease and speed of the process beats places such as the EU (average incorporation time 3 days) and New York (average time 7 days) and is a great example of ‘leap-frogging.’ The only other country that comes close is Estonia.
The service is based on a UN digital government platform called eRegistrations, which aims to make official procedures more accessible and transparent for small businesses.
According to the UN, the administrative barriers faced by small businesses in developing countries strand many in the informal sector, unable to access legal protections, insurance and loans. The new online service in Benin was launched just before the pandemic and quickly proved its worth by helping thousands of entrepreneurs to set up new businesses just as previous sources of income were affected by covid restrictions, bringing greater economic resilience to swathes of the population. The service has also made life easier for government officials and increased their productivity and job satisfaction.
According to the UN, there is scope for many more government services to move online via the platform and similarly improve their accessibility, transparency and productivity. This includes land registries, civil registries and social security systems.
eRegistrations is also in use in seven other countries with scope to spread further.