WASHINGTON, October 25, 2016 – Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – ranked 156th, 68th, and 77th respectively out of 190 countries in the latest Doing Business 2017 report – are driving forward their efforts to improve their business environment in a wide range of socioeconomic contexts. For Libya, on the other hand, at 188th in the ranking, due to the ongoing instability no reforms were reported by the Doing Business indicators.
The Doing Business report has introduced a number of methodological changes again this year to improve its reporting on the business climate in the countries covered by the ranking. These changes have been made mainly to the indicators on paying taxes to cover post-filing processes such as tax refunds and tax audits, on regulations that discriminate against gender, and protections for minority investors.
Despite its 156th place, Algeria has significantly improved its business environment this year and leads the Maghreb countries with a seven-place increase in the ranking. This marked improvement is due to the adoption of four reforms to eliminate the minimum capital requirement to start a business, simplify the obtaining of a building permit, improve the transparency of electricity tariffs, and reduce the rate of business tax.
Morocco’s sustained reform efforts bring it into 68th place in the global Doing Business ranking, joining the top third of countries with the best business environment. In absolute value, Morocco has improved its score and reduced its distance to the frontier of best practices. This has raised Morocco’s score from 65.82 in Doing Business 2016 to 67.50 in Doing Business 2017. This performance has been driven by five recent reforms adopted to simplify business start-up procedures, streamline property registration, set up a credit score system, protect minority investors, and simplify import procedures.
In 77th place out of 190, Tunisia has slipped back just two places despite the challenges it has faced in recent months. Like Morocco and Algeria, Tunisia has also improved its absolute score from 63.91 to 64.89 due mainly to the adoption of a key reform to improve its credit reporting system. This slow progress and competition from other countries implementing a greater number of reforms, has resulted in a slight drop in the rankings for Tunisia..
“There is ongoing momentum in the Maghreb region on reforms to improve the business environment, which should help create more open, thriving economies. Our international experience shows that the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, is the true engine for job creation and social inclusion. Promoting a good business environment in the Maghreb is vital to respond to the high level of unemployment, especially among the region’s young people and women,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb.
In general, for the Middle East and North Africa region, 15 of the 20 economies have implemented at least one reform to improve the business environment in the past year. The largest number of reforms by the region’s economies have been to simplify starting a business (nine reforms) followed by cross-border trade facilitation (six reforms).