Bitola, FYR Macedonia, July 14, 2008—The
ease of doing business varies greatly among cities in South East Europe,
according to a new report launched today by the World Bank Group. Doing
Business in South East Europe 2008 covers 22 cities in seven economies:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo -Under UN Security Council
Resolution 1244 (1999), Kosovo is administered by the United Nations Interim
Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)-, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and
Serbia. For the first time, Doing Business goes beyond the
most populous city to compare cities in the same economy with each other
and with other cities in the region. It benchmarks four areas of regulation
that are subject to local jurisdiction and enforcement: starting a business,
obtaining licenses, registering property, and enforcing contracts.
The report highlights that, while some
economies achieved remarkable progress in improving their investment climate
at the national level—Croatia and FYR Macedonia were among the top 10
reformers globally last year—there is scope to extend reforms to the local
level. “South East Europe is reforming rapidly to improve the ease of
doing business. This report provides city-level data that can inspire
reforms at the national and local levels and add to the region’s reform
momentum,” said Jane Armitage, World Bank Country Director.
Bitola in FYR Macedonia is the top-ranking
city measured by the report. “We are pleased that a city here is the top
performer,” said Patricia Rader, USAID Mission Director in Skopje. “Business
reforms are critical for growth. Investors need predictability, good corporate
governance, and contractual law; and the region needs investment to stimulate
growth and create jobs.”
The report identifies reforms that can
make cities more competitive by reducing the cost and risk of doing business.
These include consolidating construction licenses through one-stop
shops, introducing electronic business registries, and improving courts’
case management systems. Cities can learn about reform solutions from other
cities in their own country or elsewhere in the region. If a city were
to adopt all the best practices already in place in South East Europe,
it would rank ninth among the 178 economies measured by Doing Business,
comparable to the rankings for Ireland and Canada. This would mean adopting
the good practices from Vlora, Albania (to start a business); Osijek, Croatia
(to obtain construction licenses); Pljevlje, Montenegro (to register property);
and Zrenjanin, Serbia (to enforce contracts).
The report was directed by FIAS, a multidonor
investment climate advisory service of the World Bank Group. It was produced
with financial support from IFC, the U.S. Agency for International Development,
and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). It
is based on the efforts of more than 224 lawyers, accountants, architects,
contractors, engineers, property specialists, and national and local public
officials. For more information or to download the report, visit www.doingbusiness.org/SEE.
About the Doing Business Project
The Doing Business project ranks
178 economies on the ease of doing business. Rankings are based on 10 indicators
of business regulation that track the time and cost to meet government
requirements in business start-up, operation, trade, taxation, and closure.
The rankings do not reflect such areas as macroeconomic policy, quality
of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime
rates. Since 2003, Doing Business has contributed to more than 100
reforms around the world. The Doing Business project is based on
the efforts of more than 5,000 local experts who provide methodological
support and review. For more information about the Doing Business
project, visit www.doingbusiness.org.
Doing Business also publishes
studies that measure business regulations in various cities of a specific
economy or region. These focus on business regulations in areas covered
by local jurisdiction and enforcement.
They use the methodology of the global
Doing Business report, thus making domestic and international comparisons
possible. The data, methodology, and the names of contributors are available
online at http://subnational.doingbusiness.org.
This is the first Doing Business
regional report that allows comparisons among capitals and other cities,
both within individual countries and across the region. Data for
all economies in Southeast Europe are for January 2008. Data for all other
economies are for June 2007.