Do­ing Busi­ness Re­port: New record set as 314 re­forms in­tro­duced to im­prove busi­ness cli­mate around the world

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

Gov­ern­ments around the world set a new record in bu­reau­cracy bust­ing ef­forts for the do­mes­tic pri­vate sec­tor, im­ple­ment­ing 314 busi­ness re­forms over the past year, says the World Bank Group’s Do­ing Busi­ness 2019: Train­ing for Re­form re­port, re­leased yes­ter­day.

The re­forms, car­ried out in 128 economies, ben­e­fit small and medium en­ter­prises as well as en­trepreneurs, en­abling job cre­ation and stim­u­lat­ing pri­vate in­vest­ment. This year’s re­forms sur­pass the pre­vi­ous all-time high of 290 re­forms two years ago.

“The pri­vate sec­tor is key to cre­at­ing sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and end­ing poverty around the world,” said World Bank Group Pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim. “Fair, ef­fi­cient, and trans­par­ent rules, which Do­ing Busi­ness pro­motes, are the be­drock of a vi­brant econ­omy and en­trepreneur­ship en­vi­ron­ment. It’s crit­i­cal for gov­ern­ments to ac­cel­er­ate ef­forts to cre­ate the con­di­tions for pri­vate en­ter­prise to thrive and com­mu­ni­ties to pros­per.”

The re­port finds that re­forms are tak­ing place where they are most needed, with low-in­come and lower mid­dle-in­come economies car­ry­ing out 172 re­forms. In Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, a record num­ber of 40 economies im­ple­mented 107 re­forms, a new best in num­ber of re­forms for a third con­sec­u­tive year for the re­gion. The Mid­dle East and North Africa re­gion scaled a new high with 43 re­forms.

The in­di­ca­tor Start­ing a Busi­ness con­tin­ued to see the most im­prove­ments, with 50 re­forms this year. En­forc­ing Con­tracts and Get­ting Elec­tric­ity saw mile­stone re­forms, with 49 and 26, re­spec­tively.

In the World Bank Group’s an­nual ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ings, the top 10 economies are New Zealand, Sin­ga­pore and Den­mark, which re­tain their first, sec­ond and third spots, re­spec­tively, for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, fol­lowed by Hong Kong SAR, China; Repub­lic of Korea; Ge­or­gia; Nor­way; United States; United King­dom and FYR Mace­do­nia.

In no­table changes to the top 20 ranked economies this year, the United Arab Emi­rates joins the group­ing for the first time, in 11th place, while Malaysia and Mau­ri­tius re­gain spots, in 15th and 20th places, re­spec­tively. Dur­ing the past year, Malaysia im­ple­mented six re­forms, Mau­ri­tius five, and the UAE four. The re­forms in Mau­ri­tius in­cluded the elim­i­na­tion of a gen­der-based bar­rier to equal­ize the field be­tween men and women in start­ing a busi­ness.

This year’s top 10 im­provers, based on re­forms un­der­taken, are Afghanistan, Dji­bouti, China, Azer­bai­jan, In­dia, Togo, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Tur­key and Rwanda. With six re­forms each, Dji­bouti and In­dia are in the top 10 for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year. Afghanistan and Tur­key, top im­provers for the first time, im­ple­mented record sin­gleyear re­forms, with five and seven, re­spec­tively.

“The di­ver­sity among the top im­provers shows that economies of all sizes and in­come lev­els, and even those in con­flict can ad­vance the busi­ness cli­mate for do­mes­tic small and medium en­ter­prises. Do­ing Busi­ness pro­vides a road map that dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ments can use to in­crease busi­ness con­fi­dence, in­no­va­tion, and growth and re­duce cor­rup­tion,” said Shanta De­vara­jan, the World Bank’s Se­nior Di­rec­tor for De­vel­op­ment Eco­nomics and Act­ing Chief Econ­o­mist.

This year, Do­ing Busi­ness col­lected data on train­ing pro­vided to pub­lic of­fi­cials and users of busi­ness and land reg­istries. A case study in the re­port, which an­a­lyzes this data, finds that manda­tory and an­nual train­ing for rel­e­vant of­fi­cials is as­so­ci­ated with more ef­fi­cient busi­ness and land reg­istries. A sec­ond study finds that reg­u­lar train­ing for cus­toms clear­ance of­fi­cials and bro­kers re­sults in lower bor­der and doc­u­men­tary com­pli­ance times, eas­ing the move­ment of goods across borders. Two other case stud­ies fo­cus on the ben­e­fits of ac­cred­it­ing elec­tri­cians and train­ing of judges.

“This year’s re­sults clearly demon­strate gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment in many economies, large and small, to nur­ture en­trepreneur­ship and pri­vate en­ter­prise. If the re­form agen­das are com­ple­mented with train­ing pro­grams for pub­lic of­fi­cials, the im­pact of re­forms will be fur­ther en­hanced, new data show,” said Rita Ra­malho, Se­nior Man­ager of the World Bank’s Global In­di­ca­tors Group, which pro­duces the re­port.

Since its in­cep­tion in 2003, more than 3,500 busi­ness re­forms have been car­ried out in 186 of the 190

Do­ing Busi­ness economies mon­i­tors.

By re­gion, East Asia and the Pa­cific is home to two of the world’s top 10 Do­ing Busi­ness economies, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong SAR, China. Ad­di­tion­ally, China is one of this year’s top 10 im­provers, ad­vanc­ing more than 30 spots to 46th place in the global rank­ings. The re­gion’s economies car­ried out a to­tal of 43 re­forms in the past year, with a ma­jor push seen in the ar­eas of Start­ing a Busi­ness and Get­ting Elec­tric­ity.

Eu­rope and Cen­tral Asia also hosts two of the world’s top 10 economies this year, with Ge­or­gia mov­ing up to 6th place (from 9th last year), and FYR Mace­do­nia edg­ing up one spot to 10th place. The re­gion also hosts two of this year’s top im­provers, Azer­bai­jan and Tur­key. The pace of re­forms ac­cel­er­ated in the re­gion, with 54 re­forms im­ple­mented dur­ing the past year, com­pared with a re­vised num­ber of 43 re­forms the pre­vi­ous year. While re­forms in the re­gion cov­ered all ar­eas of Do­ing Busi­ness, many im­prove­ments fo­cused on eas­ing con­struc­tion per­mit­ting and cross bor­der trade.

A to­tal of 25 re­forms were car­ried out in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean in the past year. Brazil made the most im­prove­ments, with four re­forms. The bulk of the re­forms in the re­gion were aimed at im­prov­ing the le­gal rights of bor­row­ers and lenders with re­spect to se­cured trans­ac­tions, and the process of start­ing a busi­ness.

Economies of the Mid­dle East and North Africa sig­nif­i­cantly ac­cel­er­ated the pace of re­forms in the past year, with 43 re­forms, com­pared to 29 the pre­vi­ous year. This year, the re­gion hosts an econ­omy in the global top 20 group­ing, with the United Arab Emi­rates’ maiden en­try in 11th place and one top im­prover, Dji­bouti. How­ever, the re­gion con­tin­ues to lag on gen­der-re­lated is­sues, with bar­ri­ers for women en­trepreneurs in place in 14 economies.

In a first for South Asia, two of the re­gion’s economies earned cov­eted spots in the global top im­provers. In­dia con­tin­ued its re­form agenda, im­ple­ment­ing six re­forms in the past year and ad­vanc­ing 23 spots to 77th place in the global rank­ing. In­dia is now the re­gion’s top-ranked econ­omy. Afghanistan, with five re­forms, moved up 16 spots to 167th place in the global rank­ings. Col­lec­tively, the re­gion’s economies car­ried out 19 re­forms in the past year. Many of the re­forms fo­cused on im­prov­ing start­ing a busi­ness, ac­cess to credit, pay­ing taxes and re­solv­ing in­sol­vency.

Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa set a new mile­stone for a third con­sec­u­tive year, im­ple­ment­ing 107 re­forms in the past year, up from 83 the pre­vi­ous year. In ad­di­tion, this year also saw the high­est num­ber of economies car­ry­ing out re­forms, with 40 of the re­gion’s 48 economies im­ple­ment­ing at least one re­form, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous high of 37 economies two years ago. The re­gion is home to four of this year’s top 10 im­provers – Togo, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda. While re­forms in the re­gion were widerang­ing, many im­prove­ments fo­cused on eas­ing prop­erty reg­is­tra­tion and re­solv­ing in­sol­vency.

The full re­port and its datasets are avail­able at www.do­ing­busi­ness.org

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