Thursday, September 27, 2007


WASHINGTON, USA (27.September,2007) - Thanks to reforms of business regulation, more businesses are starting up, finds Doing Business 2008 - the fifth in an annual report series issued by the World Bank and IFC.Countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union reformed the most in 2006/07 — along with a large group of emerging markets, including China and India.

Doing Business 2008 ranks 178 economies on the ease of doing business and Bosnia has been given the 105th position.

The top 25, in order, are Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong (China), Denmark, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Thailand, Switzerland, Estonia, Georgia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Austria.

Singapore once again topped the World Bank's ranks for the best place in the world to do business, and Egypt is the leader in reforms to invite more business, the World Bank said Tuesday. "For the second year running, Singapore tops the aggregate rankings on the ease of doing business" in 2006-2007, the World Bank said in releasing its "Doing Business 2008" report.

Starting a business is not easy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It takes 13 procedures and 155 days—and it costs five times the annual income per capita. The situation is even worse for women: they need the consent of a husband. And if you are a single woman, a judge decides whether you can become a businesswoman.

The result: Only 18 percent of small businesses are run by women in the DRC. Next door, in Rwanda, which has no such regulations, women run more than 41 percent of small businesses.

But many countries are making it easier to do business. The Doing Business 2008 report identifies 200 reforms in 98 countries between April 2006 and June 2007.

The top reformer was Egypt. Unhappy with its Doing Business ranking last year, the Egyptian government pulled out all stops. Its efforts cut deep—with reforms in five of the 10 areas studied by the report. It made the single fastest climb in the overall rankings on the ease of doing business.

Georgia, the top reformer last year, remains in the top 10 and continues to target better rankings each year. Its efforts are paying off: Georgia is now in the top 25 countries in overall rankings for the ease of doing business. Two African countries—Ghana and Kenya—also made this year's list of the top 10 reformers.

"Overall, Doing Business has had a powerful catalytic effect," says Simeon Djankov, the lead author of the report. "For example, in the past two years, we have recorded 413 reforms in the countries we study. We have been able to confirm at least 113 instances where Doing Business inspired or informed business regulatory reforms worldwide."

The Financial Times has noted that in publishing Doing Business, the World Bank Group is "producing a public good: measurements of regulatory performance that may become as indispensable to reformers and academics as national income accounts."

Doing Business 2008 finds that large emerging markets are reforming fast, with the potential to benefit hundreds of millions of people. Egypt, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Vietnam all improved in the ease of doing business.

Doing Business is also analyzing the benefits of reform. "The report shows equity returns are highest in countries that are reforming the most," said Michael Klein, World Bank/IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development. "Investors are looking for upside potential, and they find it in economies that are reforming—regardless of their starting point," he added.

By far the fastest reforms are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which, as a region, surpassed East Asia this year in the ease of doing business. Estonia, the most business-friendly country of the former socialist bloc, ranks 17th on the ease of doing business. "The results show that as governments ease regulations for doing business, more entrepreneurs go into business," said Djankov.

"Eastern Europe has witnessed a boom in new business entry, and many of the new companies are becoming global leaders, such as the Estonian-born software company Skype and the Czech car maker Skoda," he added.

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