Ease of business reforms gaining across the globe: WB

A record number of countries implemented ease of doing business reforms last year, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday.

“A record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small- and medium-sized businesses,” the World Bank said in its annual report on the ease of doing business titled, “Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All”.

The report showed that developing economies have made more than 75 percent of the 283 reforms implemented last year, while over 25 percent of reforms were carried out by Sub-Saharan Africa nations which sorely needs investment.

The easiest country to do business in, according to the report, was New Zealand, followed by Singapore at number two, Denmark, China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, South Korea, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The best performers in terms of reforms recently carried out were Brunei, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Turkey, which was ranked 55th last year, fell to number 69 in this year’s report.

“The drop in Turkey’s rank is partly due to methodological changes,” said Johannes Zutt, country director for Turkey. “Using the same methods, Turkey’s rank would have dropped a bit less, to 63rd,” he added.

However, he pointed out that this does not indicate Turkey has not carried through reforms but rather that other countries have outpaced Turkey in terms of reforms.

“It needs to be remembered that doing business is a relative ranking, so the main message for Turkey this year is that other countries are reforming more aggressively than Turkey is.”

The ease of doing business index is considered a valuable indicator for both local and global investors’ decision-making processes, as a high ease of doing business ranking suggests the regulatory environment is more conducive to starting and operating a firm in a specific country.

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