Washington, D.C., September 9, 2009—The
Middle East and North Africa picked up the pace of business regulatory
reform faster than any other region in a year of global financial uncertainty,
according to a new report by IFC and the World Bank.
Doing Business 2010: Reforming through
Difficult Times finds that between June 2008 and May 2009, 17 of 19
economies in the region passed regulatory reforms to create opportunity
for domestic entrepreneurs. The report is the seventh in an annual series.
Egypt moved up to 106 from 116 among
183 economies worldwide in the overall ease of doing business ranking.
Among the world’s 10 most active reformers for the fourth time, Egypt
made business start-up less costly, expedited the construction permit process,
expanded the information available from the private credit bureau, and
created commercial courts to speed up contract dispute settlements.
Saudi Arabia rose to 13 from 15 on the ease of doing business—making it
the highest-ranked economy in the region—by establishing a one-stop center
for business registration and a faster process for construction permits.
“Economies in the Middle East and North Africa are reforming at an impressive
rate, and in sustained and comprehensive ways that highlight insights gained
from other reformers,” said Dahlia Khalifa, an author of the report. “Governments
are paying attention to the quality of business regulation to make their
economies more competitive and encourage entrepreneurs. This is always
important, but especially during these difficult times.”
The United Arab Emirates moved up to 33 from 47 on the ease of doing business
and became one of the world’s 10 most active reformers for the first time
by eliminating the minimum capital requirement for business start-ups and
Jordan made it easier to start a business and pay taxes, extended the construction
permit one-stop shop to medium-size projects, lowered property transfer
taxes, implemented major court reforms, and sped up trade. Yemen—the world’s
fastest reformer last year for starting a business—continued to ease business
start-up procedures. It also enhanced access to credit information, and
expedited trade through a new electronic document submission system.
Algeria improved its construction permit administration and lowered the
cost of transferring property, cut business taxes, and made courts more
efficient. A private credit bureau opened in Morocco, and Tunisia strengthened
investor protections and eased trade rules.
The top 10 global reformers include two from the Middle East and North
Africa Egypt: the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Others include Rwanda,
the top global reformer, Liberia, Colombia, Tajikistan, Moldova, the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Belarus. Colombia
and Egypt have been top global reformers in four of the past seven years.
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s
businesses during their life cycles, including start-up and operations,
trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Doing
Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that
matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security,
macroeconomic stability, corruption, skill level, or the strength of financial
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), 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 visit www.worldbank.org,
For more information about the Doing Business report series, please
For more information on Doing Business 2010, please contact:
Nadine Ghannam +1 (202) 473-3011
Rebecca Ong +1 (202) 458-0434
Contacts for region-specific queries on Doing Business 2010:
Middle East and North Africa
Riham Mustafa +202 (2) 4691-4230