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Saudi Arabia tops region in ease of doing business

Manama, November 4, 2010

Saudi Arabia has topped the Middle East region in the latest ease of doing business index prepared by IFC and the World Bank.

For the fifth year running, Singapore leads the list, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, the eighth in a series of annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank, ranks 183 economies on key aspects of business regulation for domestic firms.

Saudi Arabia is ranked 11 on the global list, followed by Bahrain, which is ranked 28 overall. The UAE is ranked 40, Qatar 50, Tunisia 55, Oman 57, Kuwait 74 and Egypt 94.

Among the top 25 economies, 18 made things even easier over the past year, the report said.

In the past year, governments in 117 economies carried out 216 regulatory reforms aimed at making it easier to start and operate a business, strengthening transparency and property rights, and improving the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures, it said.

Globally, doing business remains easiest in the high-income economies of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development and most difficult in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But developing economies are increasingly active. In the past year, 66 percent reformed business regulation, up from 34 percent six years earlier, it said.

In the past five years, about 85 percent of the world’s economies have made it easier for local entrepreneurs to operate, through 1,511 improvements to business regulation. Doing Business 2011 pioneers a new measure showing how much business regulation has changed in 174 economies since 2005.

China and India are among the top 40 most-improved economies. Among the top 30 most-improved economies, a third are from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Worldwide, more than half the regulatory changes recorded in the past year eased business start-up, trade, and the payment of taxes. Many of the improvements involve new technologies. “New technology underpins regulatory best practice around the world,” said Janamitra Devan, vice president for Financial and Private Sector Development for the World Bank Group. “Technology makes compliance easier, less costly, and more transparent.”

“Governments worldwide have been consistently taking steps to empower local entrepreneurs,” said Neil Gregory, acting director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “The economies most affected by the financial crisis—especially in Eastern Europe—have been targeting regulatory reforms over the past year to make it easier for small and medium-size enterprises to recover and to create jobs.”

Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business.  -TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Saudi Arabia | World Bank | IFC | Doing Business |

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