The UAE has been named as the Middle East's top country in the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business report.
The UAE, which scored in the world's top 10 for obtaining construction permits, connecting to electricity services and registering property was ranked 31st overall in the list.
Bahrain (65), Qatar (68), Oman (70), Saudi Arabia (82) and Kuwait (101) completed the rankings of Gulf nations as reform activity picked up slightly in the Middle East in the past year.
The report said a total of 21 reforms were implemented in 11 of the region’s 20 economies. Economies that undertook more than one reform included the UAE, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
Developing economies quickened the pace of their business reforms during the last 12 months to make it easier for local businesses to start and operate, said the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement.
Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency found that 85 developing economies implemented 169 business reforms during the past year, compared with 154 reforms the previous year.
High-income economies carried out an additional 62 reforms, bringing the total for the past year to 231 reforms in 122 economies around the world.
The majority of the new reforms during the past year were designed to improve the efficiency of regulations, by reducing their cost and complexity, with the largest number of improvements made in the area of Starting a Business, which measures how long it takes to obtain a permit for starting a business and its associated processing costs.
Efforts to strengthen legal institutions and frameworks were less common, with 66 reforms implemented in 53 economies during the past year.
In the global ranking stakes, Singapore retained its top spot. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are New Zealand, Denmark, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
The world’s top 10 improvers - economies that implemented at least three reforms during the past year and moved up the rankings scale - were Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal, and Benin.
Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president, said: “A modern economy cannot function without regulation and, at the same time, it can be brought to a standstill through poor and cumbersome regulation. The challenge of development is to tread this narrow path by identifying regulations that are good and necessary, and shunning ones that thwart creativity and hamper the functioning of small and medium enterprises."
“It is heartening to see so many economies, particularly low-income economies and fragile states, undertaking reforms to improve the business environment for local entrepreneurs. In time, this can result in increased job creation, economic growth and greater prosperity for their people,” added Rita Ramalho, manager of the Doing Business project.
Source: Arabian Business