Doing Business 2009 report: Yemen holds record development in business regulations [Archives:2008/1190/Front Page]

September 15 2008

Khaled Al-Hilaly
SANA'A, Sept. 13 ) Yemen jumped 25 places in the global rankings on the ease of doing business and was listed as the world's 98th business reformer this year, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2009 report, released on Wednesday.

“Yemen introduced a one-stop shop and cut the paid-in minimum capital requirements. The new one-stop shop makes it possible to complete business start-up at a single location and easier to obtain a license from the municipality and to register with the chamber of commerce and the tax office. This was one of the boldest reforms recorded in this year's Doing Business report, and resulted in an advance of 25 positions in the global aggregate rankings for Yemen,” the report said.

“Economies worldwide are increasingly committed to regulatory reforms, and this is evident in the Middle East and North Africa, the region with the second-largest share of economies that made it easier to do business,” said Dahlia Khalifa, a co-author of the report. “Many economies, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are consistently making improvements and are advancing in the global rankings. Across the region, countries are making it easier to do business by looking to early pacesetters for ideas on how to reform,” she added.

Among the different regions covered in the report, Eastern Europe and Central Asia led in reforms of business regulation for a fifth consecutive year, with more than 90 percent of its countries making improvements.

And the trend is moving eastward as newcomers join the list of economies making the most reforms. The top ten are, in order, Azerbaijan, Albania, the Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Egypt.

“Economies need rules that are efficient, easy to use, and accessible to all who use them. Otherwise, businesses are trapped in the unregulated, informal economy, where they have less access to finance and hire fewer workers, and where workers lack the protection of labor law,” said Michael Klein, the World Bank / International Finance Cooperation's vice president for financial and private sector development.

“Doing Business encourages good rules, and good rules are a better basis for healthy business than 'who you know',” he added.

This year's report covers ten indicators of a business cycle as they apply to domestic small and medium-sized enterprises. These are starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

However, rankings do not reflect a country's security, macroeconomic policy, currency volatility, corruption and crime rates, investor perceptions, labor skills or quality of infrastructure.

Yemen made improvements in one of the ten indicators covered by the report this year: the area of reform is business start-up. This is the region's most popular area for reform this year, with nine other economies in the Middle East and North Africa making similar improvements.

Yemen was placed 98 out of 181 countries surveyed in the World Bank's global rankings on the ease of doing business, up from last year's 123rd position.

Yemen implemented one of the boldest reforms, reducing the world's second-highest minimum capital requirement and launching a one-stop shop for business start-ups, the report noted.

The next most popular area for reform -credit bureau enhancements that improve access to credit- saw activity in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the West Bank and Gaza.

Doing Business 2009 ranks 181 economies on the overall ease of doing business. The top 25 are, in order, Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong (China), Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Japan, Thailand, Finland, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Bahrain, Belgium, Malaysia, Switzerland, Estonia, Korea, Mauritius and Germany.