WASHINGTON, October 24, 2019—Economies in Europe and Central Asia accelerated an already strong momentum to improve their business climates, enacting 56 reforms and leading globally in reforms on paying taxes and enforcing contracts, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 study says.
Europe and Central Asia is home to two of the world’s top 20 best places to do business – Georgia (7th) and North Macedonia (17th).
“The economies of Europe and Central Asia continue to make significant progress in enabling entrepreneurship and promoting economic growth,” said Santiago Croci Downes, Program Manager of the Doing Business Unit. “As the reform momentum builds, economies that lag behind can learn from the good practices adopted by their neighbors.”
“On the ease of doing business score which assesses a country’s absolute level of regulatory performance - Armenia’s score went up from 73.2 in Doing Business 2019 to 74.5 in Doing Business 2020,” says Sylvie Bossoutrot, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia. “This means that over the course of last year Armenia has improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms. The country is indeed continuing to narrow the gap with the global regulatory frontier which is a positive and promising development.”
In 2018/19, Armenia implemented four reforms improving the business regulatory framework. More specifically, Doing Business finds that Armenia implemented substantive improvements in the local regulatory framework in the following areas:
- Armenia strengthened construction quality control by imposing stricter qualification requirements for architects and engineers;
- Armenia strengthened minority investor protections by requiring an independent review and immediate disclosure to the public of related party transactions, increasing shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions and clarifying ownership and control structures;
- Armenia made paying taxes easier by extending value added tax cash refunds to cases of capital investment;
- Armenia made exporting faster by allowing the online submission of customs declarations.
The Doing Business team visited Yerevan this year and deepened its knowledge across topics in Armenia by expanding the pool of contributors over the past year to 139 (by 8%) located in Yerevan.
The region implemented the most reforms world-wide in the areas of paying taxes (nine), as 22 economies in the region now allow electronic filing of taxes, and enforcing contracts (six), as Europe and Central Asian is the region with the most efficient commercial judicial system. Europe and Central Asian economies also stand out on the ease of registering property: it costs 2.7% of property value on average to transfer a property, less than the 4.2% average among OECD high-income economies.
Europe and Central Asia has also performed well over long run, as numerous countries have lowered paid-in minimum capital requirements and improved credit reporting systems over the 17 years of Doing Business study.
The region underperformed in the areas of dealing with construction permits and getting electricity. Obtaining required construction permits takes 170 days on average in the region, compared to 152 days in OECD high-income economies. Similarly, connecting a new warehouse to the grid in Europe and Central Asia takes on average almost 100 days, 25 more days than among OECD high-income economies.