Eastern Europe and Central Asia Lead World in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

October 20, 2011

Washington D.C., October 20, 2011 - A new IFC and World Bank report finds that for the ninth consecutive year, Eastern Europe and Central Asia led other regions in improving regulations for entrepreneurs.

Released today, Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domesticfirms in 183 economies. The report ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation,such as starting a business, resolving insolvency, and trading across borders. The study's methodology expanded this year to include indicators on gettingelectricity connections. On the list of the most improved economies on the easeof doing business, two countries from Europe and Central Asia are among the topthree in the world: Moldova is number two - moving up 18 places from 99 to 81 - and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is number three - moving up 12 places from 34 to 22.

This past year, 21 ofthe region's 24 economies improved business regulations for domestic firms byimplementing a total of 53 reforms in areas such as resolving insolvency,dealing with construction permitting, enforcing contracts, and protectinginvestors. Amid a global economic crisis, 40 percent of the region's economiesimproved insolvency proceedings by implementing such measures as amendedbankruptcy laws.

Ranked 16th, Georgia leads the region in the ease of doing business. Georgia continued its broadprogram of reform by simplifying business start-up, and expanding access tocredit. Since 2005, it has introduced new company and customs codes, a revampedproperty registry, broad judicial reform, and a credit bureau.

Armenia rose six placesin the global ranking to 55 by implementing five regulatory and institutionalreforms between June 2010 and May 2011, the most in the region. Cyprus climbedto the 40th spot by strengthening investor protections.

The Russian Federation eased the process of registering property, reduced the number of documentsneeded for trade, and made getting electricity less costly by revising theconnection tariffs. Georgia, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine each implemented fourregulatory reforms.

New data show that improving access to information on business regulations helps entrepreneurs. "Increasing transparency and access toregulatory information is important to creating a healthier businessenvironment," said Sylvia Solf, lead author of the report. "To date, 60 percent ofeconomies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia provide easy access to feeschedules or documentation requirements for trade, business start-up,construction permits, or electricity connections."

A new measure that looks at how economies changed their business regulations over the past six yearsshows that all economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have made theirregulatory environments more business-friendly. "Research shows that a streamlined business regulatory environmenthelps a country's economic growth," said Augusto Lopez-Claros,Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. "By simplifyingregulations and expanding access to credit, countries in Eastern Europe andCentral Asia continue to enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs."

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 resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 183 economies. Previous year’s rankings are back-calculated to account for the addition of new indicator(s), data corrections, and methodology changes in existing indicators so as to provide a meaningful comparison with the new rankings.  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, the level of skills, 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), 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.

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