Washington, D.C., November 4, 2010 — Among the world’s economies, Kazakhstan improved business regulation the most in the past year, according to Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, the eighth in a series of annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank.
Kazakhstan improved conditions for starting a business, obtaining construction permits, protecting investors, and trading across borders. As a result, it moved up 15 places in the rankings on the ease of doing business—to 59 among 183 economies. Tajikistan and Hungary, also among the 10 most-improved economies, climbed 10 places and six places respectively. The Czech Republic moved up 19 places, to 63.
Lithuania moved into the top 25 by improving in five of nine areas measured by Doing Business in the past year—more than any other economy. In doing so, it joined its high-ranking Baltic neighbors Estonia Latvia, and Georgia.
In the past five years about 85 percent of the world’s economies have made it easier for local entrepreneurs to operate, through 1,511 improvements to business regulation. Doing Business 2011 pioneers a new measure showing how much business regulation has changed in 174 economies since 2005. By this measure, Georgia has been the most active worldwide in reforming business regulation.
For eight consecutive years, Eastern Europe and Central Asia has been the most active region in improving business regulation for domestic firms. Georgia, Belarus, the Kyrgyz Republic, Croatia, and Kazakhstan are among the 15 economies that made the largest absolute improvements in the ease of doing business over the past five years.
In the past many changes were driven by the prospect of joining the European Union. More recently, the financial crisis has triggered new activity. This past year 21 of 25 economies improved business regulation for local firms, including Croatia. Croatia made dealing with construction permits simpler and faster by replacing the location permit and project design confirmation with a single certificate. It eased business start-up by making it possible for limited liability companies to file their registration application with the court registries electronically through a notary public. Improvements in these two areas, dealing with construction permits and starting a business helped Croatia improve its overall rank.
“The economies most affected by the financial crisis—especially in Eastern Europe—have been targeting regulatory reforms over the past year to make it easier for small and medium-size enterprises to recover and to create jobs,” said Svetlana Bagaudinova, an author of the report. Half the reforms to insolvency procedures captured by the report in the past year took place in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Measures making it easier to start up, to reorganize, and to pay taxes were also common.
About the Doing Business report series
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, skill level, or the strength of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates in more than 80 economies and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies.
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), 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.