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Doing Business in the Arab World 2010: Reforms Accelerate in Arab Economies


In Washington, D.C.:
Nadine Ghannam
Phone: (202) 473 3011
E-mail: nsghannam@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., November 9, 2009—In a year of global financial uncertainty, Arab economies picked up the pace of business regulatory reform, according to the IFC and World Bank’s Doing Business in the Arab World 2010 report.

Prepared in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Arab Monetary Fund, and the United States Agency for International Development, this second annual regional report finds that between June 2008 and May 2009, 16 of 20 Arab economies had reforms in the areas measured. The region had 38 reforms making it easier to do business, up from 29 the previous year. The United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt rank among the top 10 global reformers in 2008/09, Egypt for the fourth time.

“In recent years Arab economies have consistently focused on enhancing competitiveness and making business regulation for domestic firms more efficient,” said Dahlia Khalifa, main author of the report and Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank Group, “Economies such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Republic of Yemen set broad-based reform targets, often spurred by the reform successes of neighbors.”

One focus of reform was the minimum capital requirement for starting a limited liability company. Eight Arab economies have reduced or eliminated this requirement since 2005, including, in the past year, Egypt, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. Five of these had among the highest requirements in the world.

Other barriers to new businesses also were lowered. One-stop shops for business registration are now operational in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Yemen. The results show that in Egypt, starting a limited liability company now takes a week and six procedures, as compared to almost two weeks and seven procedures, two years ago.

Reforms also intensified in other areas in 2008/09. Six economies made construction permitting easier, more than in the previous five years combined. Six improved trade processes. Morocco launched a state-of-the-art private credit bureau. Tunisia strengthened investor protections.

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 systems.

For more information about Doing Business in the Arab World 2010, please visit www.doingbusiness.org/arabworld or www.doingbusiness.org.

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, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.