In the newest edition of the World Bank’s flagship report Doing Business, which compares conditions for doing business in 190 countries of the world, New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark retained their first, second and third spots, respectively. South Korea and Hong Kong followed Denmark to complete the top five, while the US, the UK, Norway, Georgia and Sweden completed the top 10. War-torn Somalia remained at the bottom of the list as the hardest place in the world to conduct business, just behind Eritrea, Venezuela, South Sudan and Yemen.
The report is based on how easy it is for companies to do business as well takes in account certain regulations based on ten parameters: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.The data in the report are based on the regulations applicable to small and medium-sized local companies. In the period between July 2016 and June 2017, which is the basis for the newest edition of Doing Business, 119 countries have implemented 264 business reforms aimed at improving conditions for creating new jobs, investments, and competition. Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business and getting credit were the most common, followed by reforms in the area of trading across borders.
Russia, China, India improve their ranking
As far as major emerging economies are concerned, the report marked Russia as the 35th easiest place in the world to do business while China advanced from 78th place last year to 74th. India ranked 100th, up more than 30 places, with the bank listing it as one of the 10 most improved economies.
10 top improvers
Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malawi, Kosovo, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Nigeria, Djibouti and El Salvador were the other top 9 most improved economies. Together, these 10 top improvers implemented 53 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business.
Reforms by region
The report also notes that economies in all regions are implementing reforms easing the process of doing business, but Europe and Central Asia continues to be the region with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform—76% of economies in the region have implemented at least one business regulatory reform, followed by South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Now in its 15th year, the annual report aims to encourage the ranked countries to improve their business environment conditions. The findings help to highlight the red tape and promote reforms when there is an inadequacy. Business friendly environment makes it easier for companies to operate, allows them to invest and increase employment, thus improving living standards of various social groups, including those most vulnerable .
Since the report began in 2003, the World Bank took an average of 51 days in the world start a business, time that now fell by more than half, around 20 days. In this edition, the World Bank also records a welcome reform by the Democratic Republic of Congo, which eliminated the existing requirement for women to obtain their husband’s permission to register a business.
“As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Doing Business, it is particularly gratifying to see that many of the reforms are being carried out in economies and sectors where they are most needed. We look forward to continuing to shine a light on the real hurdles faced by entrepreneurs, both women and men, and celebrating policy change successes,” said Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.
However, 36 economies continue to place obstacles for women entrepreneurs with 22 economies imposing additional steps for married women to start a business and 14 limiting women’s ability to own, use and transfer property.
The full report is available at Doing Business