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PRESS RELEASE

Afghanistan Expedites Process to Start a Business, World Bank Group Report Finds

October 29, 2013

Washington, D.C., October 29, 2013—Among economies in South Asia, a new World Bank Group report finds, Afghanistan made starting a business easier by reducing the time and cost to obtain a business license and by eliminating the inspection of the premises of newly registered companies. In addition, it strengthened its secured transactions system by implementing a unified collateral registry.

Released today, Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds that six of eight economies in South Asia completed reforms simplifying business start-up, strengthening access to credit, or easing the process for paying taxes—11 reforms in total. Indeed, in 2012/13 South Asia led the world in the share of economies implementing business regulatory reforms.

Doing Business is about smart business regulations, not necessarily fewer regulations,” said Rita Ramalho, Lead Author, Doing Business, World Bank Group. “We are encouraged by the rapid pace of regulatory reform in South Asia. However, in the past year we saw a weaker push for reform in India than in other emerging economies such as the Russian Federation. These have pursued an active program of reforms despite an uncertain global economic environment.”

The report’s global annual ranking on the ease of doing business puts Singapore in the top slot. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.

In addition to the global rankings, every year Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business.

About the Doing Business report series

The joint World Bank and IFC flagship Doing Business report analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 189 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 11th edition of the global Doing Business report series and covers 189 economies. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.