The ‘Doing Business 2008’ Report of the International Finance Corporation, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have reformed the most during 2006-07, whereas Latin America reformed the least. India rose 12 ranks on the ease of doing business (Table 1).
Note: Economies are ranked on the number and impact of reforms. First, Doing Business selects the economies that reformed in 3 or more of the Doing Business topics. Second, it ranks these economies on the increase in rank on the ease of doing business from the previous year. The larger the improvement, the higher the ranking as a reformer.
The top ten reformers in 2006-07 are: Egypt, Croatia, Ghana, Macedonia (FYR), Georgia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, China and Bulgaria (Table 2). Large emerging economies like China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Vietnam have turned out to be fast reformers. Egypt’s reforms went deep with reforms in 5 of the 10 areas studied by Doing Business, and it greatly improved its position in the global rankings as a result.
China has enacted the private property right, which also expanded the range of assets that can be used as collateral to include inventory and accounts receivable. China has also passed a new bankruptcy law. Construction has become easier with electronic processing of building permits, reducing delays by 2 weeks. In India, traders can now submit customs fees online before the cargo arrives in port.
The credit bureau has expanded to include payment histories on businesses as well as individuals. There has been introduction of an electronic collateral registry for security rights granted by companies.
The tie to obtain a business license in India ranges from 159 days in Bhubaneshwar (Orissa) to 522 in Ranchi. The time to register property ranges from 35 days in Hyderabad to 155 days in Kolkata (West Bengal). During 2006-07, India became the top reformer in trading across borders. The most dramatic reforms happened in Saudi Arabia’s elimination of the minimum capital requirement. Vietnam and Indonesia have strengthened investor protections. Russia has established a new credit bureau (Table 3).
Reforms in African countries have been uneven. For the second year running, Singapore tops the rankings on the ease of doing business. Venezuela faced the largest negative reforms. The countries considered least business-friendly were (from the bottom) the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Chad and Venezuela.