The Business Enabling Environment (BEE) is a cross-cutting activity within the ELAN portfolio, with interventions in all regions and sectors in support of the core value chain support. The primary focus of BEE activity is taxation and “tracasseries”, concerned with implementation of existing regulations as well as some legislative/regulatory change.
An essential element of our work is to build the capacity of private sector associations (whether partners of ÉLAN RDC or not) so that they are able to advocate effectively and consistently to government. This long-term persistence is required in order to implement and maintain reforms which will support economic growth. There are three aspects to capacity, all of which are necessary:
· Advocacy capacity – the human resources and skills to continue constructive engagement with government;
· Institutional capacity – the management and communications skills to relate to their members and represent the views of their members;
· Financial capacity – sufficient reliable sources of income to be able to provide services to their members and defend the interests of their members.
ÉLAN RDC works to support its partners and other private sector actors to build strong coalitions in favour of reforms to the BEE. ÉLAN also aims where possible to institutionalise public-private dialogue platforms as a permanent mechanism for improving the business environment and resolving difficulties faced by the private sector.
Amongst the BEE interventions of ÉLAN RDC are:
· Transport. Support for advocacy by two coalitions of private sector associations in Equateur and Sud-Ubangi provinces against Illegal water transport taxes and harassment; and promotion of dialogue with the provincial government in Sud-Ubangi to tackle BEE issues.
· Renewable Energy. Advocacy for favourable tax treatment (including customs duties and VAT) for renewable energy equipment (solar lighting and improved cook stoves); assisting in the creation of an association for the renewable energy sector to promote its development and engage with government.
· Specialty Crops. Support to the development of the coffee exporters’ association, ASSECCAF, encompassing advocacy for tax reform and implementation of an anti-smuggling alert system.
· Cross-border trade. Working with associations of small cross-border traders to accelerate implementation of the COMESA Simplified Trade Regime at frontiers in the east and south-east of the DRC; providing training in stakeholder analysis and advocacy to the associations; and supporting the creation of a national umbrella association, CN-ACT.
· Non-perennial agriculture. Supporting the introduction of standard weights and measures in grain trading around Lake Tanganyika to increase transparency and competition.
· All sectors. Training in media relations for associations.