The pace of business regulatory reforms picked up during the past year in the Middle East and North Africa, despite conflict and turmoil in the region, says the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement.
Released last week, Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency finds that 11 of the region’s 20 economies implemented a total of 21 reforms facilitating the ease of doing business. This is a significant increase compared to the annual average of 16 reforms during the past five years.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the region’s top ranked economy, with a global ranking of 31, while countries experiencing conflict and violence are amongst the world’s lowest ranked, including Iraq (ranked 161), Libya (188), Syria (175) and Yemen (170).
Rita Ramalho, Manager of the Doing Business project said: “There is a lot of room for improvement. The share of economies reforming in the region remains lower than the global average, and Getting Credit is harder in the Middle East and North Africa than anywhere else, partly due to the absence of comprehensive credit bureaus that provide information relevant for assessing credit-worthiness.”
Morocco and the UAE continue to lead the region in reform activity as both economies undertook four reforms each during the past year. Morocco made Starting a Business easier by eliminating the need to file a declaration of business incorporation with the Ministry of Labor. The UAE was the only economy in the region that reformed in the area of Enforcing Contracts. As a result, commercial disputes in the UAE are now resolved in 495 days, which is less than the average of 538 days in the high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economies.