IFC holds “Doing Business” conference [Archives:2007/1105/Local News]

November 22 2007

SANA'A, Nov. 20 ) The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank in Yemen have organized a conference in order to present their “Doing Business 2008” report to Yemeni officials and the business community. The conference included a thorough presentation of Yemen's performance in the report, including an explanation of factors which have contributed to a better business environment and improved the ease of doing business.

The conference also discussed case studies from Egypt, the UAE, and other countries which have successfully improved their business environment. The conference paid special attention to one statistic, the number of days to start a business, concerning which Yemen had the third-worst rank in the world due to the lengthy period required to start a business. This factor is critical for new businesses entering the local economy.

Officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry who were present at the conference contested the IFC's results and questioned the data methodology. During the active debate, private organizations helped illustrate why Yemen has the third-worst ranking, specifying details of the bureaucratic process adopted by several government agencies. The discussion was useful to the leadership of the Ministry of Trade, who promised to 'look into the matter.'

Overall, The 2008 Doing Business report indicated that there is very little change in Yemen's position; although several indicators improved slightly, while others slightly deteriorated, Yemen is ranked 113th globally. Yemen occupies the ninth rank in the region, ahead of Egypt, Iran and Syria.

The report stated that fundamental transformations have taken place in the global arena; for one, Eastern Europe has surpassed East Asia in terms of ease of doing business, while several countries have undertaken deep-rooted reforms, resulting in significant improvement in the ease of doing business. One such country was Egypt, labeled as the top performer in 2006/7.

Regionally, the report indicates that Saudi Arabia ranks the highest, and is 23rd globally in terms of ease of doing business, ranking higher than other countries such as Malaysia, France, South Korea, and South Africa, countries known for their attractive business environments and destinations for global investment.

The report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 178 countries, as a result of the cooperation of thousands of professionals around the world. Therefore, it is used as a guide for investors and businessmen to study the business environment in countries into which they wish to expand their operations through trade and investment.