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.
World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform’ report stated that the reforms which were 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 report found out that reforms were taking place where they were 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 the 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 (UAE) 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 single-year reforms, with five and seven, respectively.
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 wide-ranging, many improvements focused on easing property registration and resolving insolvency.