Every year, the World Bank looks at business regulations of up to 185 countries to determine: How easy is it to put up and maintain a business in different parts of the world?
The aptly named Doing Business reports only paint a partial picture of the business climate in a particular country. But as World Bank global indicators and analysis director Augusto Lopez-Claros noted at the launch of this year’s edition, “They are crucial for key economic outcomes such as faster job growth and new business creation.”
This year’s report, dubbed “Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises,” covers regulations measured from June 2011 to June 2012. Among notable findings: The average time it takes to start a business has fallen from 50 days in 2005 to 30 days, and there have been significant improvements to simplify the tax process in several countries.
How did countries in developing regions of the world fare in the ease of doing business index? Mauritius placed 19th globally, out of 185 countries. It ranked highest in the index of all sub-Saharan African countries, followed by South Africa, which is 39th overall.
Rwanda, Botswana, Ghana, Seychelles, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya complete the top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. At the bottom of the list — among sub-Saharan Africa countries and overall — is the Central African Republic.
The ease of doing business rankings are based on World Bank analysis of indicators like procedures required to start a business, secure construction permits, get connected to the national electricity grid, secure credit and pay taxes. The World Bank also looks at factors such as policies that protect investors, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and ease of resolving insolvency.
How countries ranked in other developing regions of the world offered few surprises. Singapore is first in the East Asia and Pacific ranking and the overall global index. Hong Kong placed second within the region and globally. Among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Chile topped the list.
In South Asia, it is easiest to do business in Sri Lanka, which ranked 81st globally. Next are the Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. India — an emerging economy and donor — only placed sixth in the region and 132nd globally.
As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.