Kuwait is one of the world’s top 10 improvers amongst 190 economies in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study, the Bank said Thursday. The study said Kuwait’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business jumped from 97 in 2019 to 83 in 2020, attributing the success to a comprehensive reform program over the past year. These improvements were aligned with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah’s Vision 2035 and New Kuwait.

“With a strong acceleration in the country’s reform agenda, we applaud Kuwait’s efforts to improve its overall business climate,” said Resident Representative of the World Bank Country Office in Kuwait Ghassan Alkhoja. “We look forward to Kuwait sustaining these efforts for the years to come, towards realizing the vision of becoming a financial and trading hub in the region,” said Alkhoja.

In 2018-19, the country implemented seven reforms improving business regulatory framework, a historical record for Kuwait since the beginning of the Doing Business project. More specifically, Doing Business found that Kuwait implemented substantive improvements in the local regulatory framework in some areas. Kuwait made starting a business easier by merging procedures to obtain a commercial license and streamlining online company registration, the Bank said. It also made dealing with construction permits easier by streamlining its permitting process, integrating additional authorities to its electronic permitting platform, enhancing inter-agency communication and reducing the time to obtain a construction permit. This has allowed the country to cut the time needed to get a construction permit to 103 days from 194, almost 50 days fewer than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) high-income economy average. Kuwait made getting electricity easier by digitizing the application process, streamlining connection works and meter installations and using a geographic information system to review connection requests. “This has reduced the time a company needs to obtain electricity to 49 days from 65,” it added.

Moreover, it made property registration easier by streamlining the inspection process and property registration. Kuwait also improved the quality of its land administration system by publishing official service standards on property transfers. The time it takes to complete all necessary procedures was cut in half from 35 days to 17 days.

The country improved access to credit information by guaranteeing borrowers the legal right to inspect their credit data and offering credit scores as a value-added service to banks and financial institutions. The World Bank also said Kuwait strengthened minority investor protections by providing a 21- day notice for general assembly meetings. The reforms made trading across borders easier by improving the customs risk management system and by implementing a new electronic clearance system. The Gulf country has also taken steps to help small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) trade internationally. Cooperation between the World Bank and the State of Kuwait started in the early 1960s on several technical reports and advisory services. The World Bank has been a strategic partner with the State of Kuwait, particularly since the opening of the World Bank Country Office in Kuwait in 2009.

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