KOTONU, Benin – Benin set up a service at the beginning of the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic to allow people to register their businesses online, and the West African country is now the fastest place in the world to start a business, according to a UN agency.
Sandra Idoso, owner of a shop selling art in Cotonou, Benin, submitted her business application online and received approval and legal documents within three hours.
He said if there was no e-registration system and instead he had to stand in line to start a business, he would never do it.
To build his business, Idoso went to monentreprise.bj online, to build a platform in Benin and formally start a business. The site was launched by the country’s Investment and Export Development Agency in February 2020, which did not want people to come to their offices during the epidemic.
Applicants fill out the required information, download the required documents and make the payment online. The documents arrived at the agency’s headquarters, where staff verified the information and mailed the business certificate to the authorized ones.
Laurent Gangbes, general manager of the Investment and Export Promotion Agency, said the company generated 228,000 businesses in 2019. In 2020, this number went above 41,000. He said the agency now processes an application within about three hours.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the online service has helped make Benin the fastest place in the world to start a company.
Businesses are of course located in Benin; However, people from abroad can use the service if they are in the process of establishing a business within the country.
Economists like Albert Honlonco see great benefits for entrepreneurs.
He said online services reduce costs, reduce delays and avoid corruption. It avoids carrying papers around and, during the coveted period, it avoids communication.
The Investment and Export Promotion Agency said it would continue to review the process and work with the private sector to further improve the process.