UK Ranks Ninth Overall in World Bank’s Latest Ease Of Doing Business Report; Usual Suspects Grab Top Rankings

The World Bank’s latest findings indicate that countries are innovating like never before to make it easier to do business globally in today’s connected world.

The World Bank’s “Doing Business in 2019” report, now in its 16th iteration, looks at the ease of doing business in 190 countries based on consistent criteria, which include 11 separate measures; from starting a business, to obtaining credit, paying taxes, sophistication of infrastructure, trading across borders and handling HR and staffing concerns.

The report places a heavy emphasis on evidence of positive business reform in each country. The past year has seen a record number or reforms implemented, the report reveals, with 314 regulatory reforms being implemented worldwide in the period between June 2nd, 2017, and May 1st, 2018.

One third of the total reforms recorded were made in Sub Saharan Africa, demonstrating that an often troubled part of the globe is taking back control of its own business destiny, with countries including Dijbouti, Kenya, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Rwanda showing particularly impressive improvements across the board.

Other fast-improving countries include China, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey. The top 10 countries all shared certain common characteristics; efficiency, quality, regular inspections in place, automation of services such as logistics, strong safeguards against insolvency and an effective commercial courts system.

The overall winner, with a score of 85.9, was New Zealand, followed by Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and the Korean Republic. New Zealand and Singapore are no strangers to “best of” lists when it comes to expat related, or matters pertaining to international trade. These contrasting environments both combine a quality of life with fairly strict regulations, whilst encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to business.

The United Kingdom, with a score of 82.65 placed ninth in the overall list, below Georgia, Norway, and the United States, which scores 82.75.

When it comes to international trade and domestic enterprise, however, some trends are universal. There are clear gaps between efficiency of regulations, and quality of regulations, for example, and when it comes to the relative difficulty of achieving certain business goals, entrepreneurs should take note; starting a business was ranked as easiest and most hassle free, whilst settling insolvency claims was ranked the hardest and most tricky procedure – across all regions!

Enforcing contracts, protecting minority investments, and doing business abroad were ranked as the next hardest areas of business to accomplish. This would also appear to be where the fewest reforms are generally made, identifying a direct correlation between ease of doing business, and number of reforms passed.

So whilst it’s great to see countries across the globe innovating, and becoming more ambitious and entrepreneurial in nature, its also worth noting that businesses with overseas buyers, customers, or suppliers, need to work harder, to make the process of sending money overseas quickly, efficiently and cheaply, easier.

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