A strong private sector is often a precursor for economic stability in a country, and accurately gauging the health of that indicator just became much more streamlined. Last Thursday, the World Bank Group released “Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs,” an annual panoramic look at private sector development and business regulation for domestic firms across 183 countries.
The report analyzes data collected from June 2009 to May 2010 and ranks economies based on nine measurable areas: ease of starting a business, paying taxes, trading across borders, registering property, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, closing a business, enforcing contracts and protecting investors.
The Doing Business series has been a treasure trove of knowledge for policymakers and institutions as a tool for crafting reform within their relative economic contexts. One striking finding reveals that governments in 117 countries enacted 216 regulatory reforms geared at expediting the ability to start and operate a business, strengthening transparency and property rights, and improving the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures.
Singapore ranked first again in 2011, followed by China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Internationally, business continues to be easiest in the high-income economies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and most difficult in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
On a positive note, the report touts that in the past five years, of the 30 most improved economies, a third are from sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the 10 most-improved list includes three from sub-Saharan Africa: Rwanda, Cape Verde and Zambia, in the company of Peru, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Hungary, Grenada and Brunei Darussalam. Developing countries posted increasingly active results. Since the 2010 edition, 66 percent reformed business regulation, up from 34 percent six years earlier.
Learn more about the report on the Doing Business website.