BECANS: The Business Environment and Competitiveness across Nigerian States (BECANS) is the flagship research, survey and dissemination initiative of African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage).
The initiative runs in successive cycles of research, surveys, dissemination and policy dialogue for the promotion of better business environment throughout the country. Each cycle begins with desk research (the scientific validation of models, methods and indicators) and followed by survey/data collection, data analysis, report writing, publication, dissemination and dialogue between the government and stakeholders in private sector and civil society.
Until recently, most investment climate assessments relied on aggregate indicators of the quality of a country’s policy, regulatory and institutional environment. Investment climate assessments were cross-country comparisons based on universal set of measures. While aggregate indicators of investment climate at the national level are useful, the aggregate picture masks differences in business environment across the states. In particular, any national picture of business environment in Nigeria that does not take into account potential differences across subnational jurisdictions cannot give a fair and true picture of the reality. This is because Nigeria’s federal constitution allows considerable autonomy for subnational governments to shape the business environment in their respective locations. In addition, differing policy and institutional contexts as well as historic social and economic conditions over space and time underscore the potential variations in the business environment.
Before BECANS was initiated, there was no assessment of the business environment at the subnational level in Nigeria. To address this shortcoming, BECANS focuses on disaggregated business environment analysis at the state level. With state-level disaggregated data, state governments will have the empirical basis to guide policy, institutional and regulatory improvements. Also, stakeholders (private sector and civil society) will get evidence basis to support advocacy and dialogue for business environment reforms in respective states of the country.
Working with stakeholders to measure, benchmark and monitor the business environment is the overarching role of the programme on business environment and competitiveness across Nigerian states (BECANS). Monitoring and reporting the business environment is important for designing and implementing policy and institutional reforms by the federal, state and local governments. On the other hand, an independent and objective assessment of the business environment is useful tool for private sector and civil society to advocate and dialogue with government.