Washington, D.C., October 23, 2012—A
new IFC and World Bank report finds that despite the challenges faced by
governments in the Middle East and North Africa, 47 percent of economies
in the region implemented regulatory reforms from June 2011 to June 2012
that made it easier to do business.
Released today, Doing Business 2013:
Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds that
the reform momentum in the region has slowed since the beginning of the
Arab Spring in January 2011 as key countries grapple with changes in government
and the challenges of transitioning to more democratic forms of governance.
Despite the challenges, the report shows
some positive moves in the region. Oman guaranteed the rights of borrowers
to inspect their personal credit data. The United Arab Emirates further
streamlined start-up requirements, implemented an online system for filing
and paying taxes, and reduced the time to obtain an electricity connection.
Although economies in the region have
made some strides in reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes,
entrepreneurs across the region still contend with weak investor and property
rights protections. With an average of 98 (out of 185) in the global ease
of doing business ranking, the region still has much room to grow.
“The changes in the region suggest
a renewed opportunity for governments to invest in governance structures
and increase transparency in parallel with efforts to improve the business
regulatory environment,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators
and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Moving to a system of more transparent,
sensible, and business-friendly rules will go a long way toward creating
the conditions for more equitable economic growth and a faster pace of
Singapore tops the global ranking on
the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year. Joining it
on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations
are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway;
the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.
About the Doing Business report
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 protecting
investors. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10
indicators and cover 185 economies. Doing Business does not measure
all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors.
For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other
aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force,
or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy
debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level
regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s
report marks the 10th edition of the global Doing Business
report series. For more information about the Doing Business report
series, please visit www.doingbusiness.org.
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About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s
largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises
five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA),
which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation
(IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International
Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution
plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living
standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please
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