Palau, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu Recognized for Reforms to Drive Business Growth

October 29, 2014

Sydney, Australia, October 29, 2014— Palau, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu are the Pacific economies that have implemented reforms to encourage business growth over the past year, according to a World Bank Group report measuring the ease of doing business in 189 economies across the globe.

Released today, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency finds that between June 2013 and June 2014, Timor-Leste made the biggest improvement in starting a business while Solomon Islands improved the most in the ease of getting electricity. Palau made trading across borders easier and Vanuatu made property transfers faster.

“This year, we see the results of key reforms put in place in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands to tackle impediments that have been hampering entrepreneurship for years, ” said Jonathon Kirkby, Senior Operations Officer at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group member focused exclusively on the private sector. “It is also very encouraging to see Palau and Vanuatu continuing to introduce new measures that improve the business environment and attract investment.”

The 2015 report’s methodology has been revised and the ease of doing business ranking is calculated based on the distance-to-frontier score, which measures how close an economy is to global best practices in business regulation. A higher score indicates a more efficient business environment and stronger legal institutions, with 100 being a perfect score. Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu all recorded an improvement in their distance-to-frontier score.

This year’s report finds that entrepreneurs in East Asia and the Pacific continue to see improvements in the business environment, with 24 regulatory reforms[1] implemented by the region’s economies between June 2013 and June 2014.

“Since 2005, the East Asia and the Pacific region has narrowed the gap with global good practices,” said Rita Ramalho, the lead author of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2015 report. “Consistent regulatory reforms have improved the ease of doing business in the region in the past decade and contributed to more business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.”

The 2015 report finds that many East Asia Pacific economies made it easier for businesses to pay taxes; for example, China enhanced its electronic filing and payment system as well as making business incorporation less expensive. Indonesia implemented three regulatory reforms to improve prospects for small enterprises, while Vietnam reduced its corporate income tax rate. In Mongolia, local businesses saw the average time needed to pay taxes fall from 192 hours a year in 2013 to 148 hours – less than in Austria.

The top 10 economies in this year’s ease of doing business rankings are, in this order: Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Australia.


Reforms Recognized in Pacific nations: Doing Business 2015

Palau made trading across borders easier by improving the system for calculating customs duties and thereby reducing customs clearance time.

Solomon Islands made getting electricity easier by improving procurement practices for the materials needed to establish new connections. It is the most improved country when it comes to “getting electricity.”

Timor-Leste made starting a business easier by creating a one-stop shop that reduced the time required to start a business from 94 days to just 10. It is the most improved country when it comes to “starting a business.”

Vanuatu made property transfers faster by digitizing its land registry system and hiring and training new staff.


About the Doing Business report series

The annual World Bank Group 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 the distance-to-frontier scores for 10 topics 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. Each year the report team works to improve the methodology and to enhance their data collection, analysis and output. The project has benefited from feedback from many stakeholders over the years. With a key goal to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the local regulatory environment for business around the world, the project goes through rigorous reviews to ensure its quality and effectiveness. This year’s report marks the 12th edition of the global Doing Business report series. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit and join us on

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including 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). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit,, and

[1] Reform count excludes Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand, which are classified as OECD high-income economies.

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