Eastern Europe and Central Asia most active in improving business climate

A new IFC and World Bank report finds that since 2005, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region leads the world in enhancing the business climate for local firms. The region overtook East Asiaa nd the Pacific to become the world’s second most business-friendly, after OECD high-income economies.

Released today, Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds Poland was the top global improver in the past year. It enhanced the ease of doing business through four institutional and regulatory reforms, making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency. Europe and Central Asia has implemented nearly 400 institutional and regulatory reforms since 2005, more than any other region in the world.

“We are very encouraged by the rapid pace of reform in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Many of these reforms have been implemented in the context of EU accession negotiations. Economic integration and the desire to catch up with more prosperous partners has been a powerful incentive to promote ambitious reform agendas.”

Armenia (rank in Doing Business 2013: 32) strengthened investor protections by introducing a requirement for shareholder approval of related-party transactions, requiring greater disclosure of such transactions in the annual report, and making it easier to sue directors when such transactions are prejudicial. In addition, it made getting electricity easier by streamlining procedures and reducing connection fees.

The report shows Georgia joining the top 10 economies in the global ease of doing business ranking. Georgia implemented reforms in six areas, more than any other economy in the region. It made improvements in getting credit, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and getting electricity.

Globally, Singapore retains its number one slot in the global ranking on the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year. Joining it on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.

A case study in this year’s report features Latvia, highlighting the country’s regulatory reform agenda and achievements in the areas measured by Doing Business.

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