(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency)
Washington D.C., Oct. 31 (Petra) – Economies in the Middle East and North Africa region carried out a record number of reforms to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises, says the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report, released Wednesday.
A total of 43 business reforms were implemented in the region during the past year, compared with 29 the previous year. Fourteen of the region's 20 economies carried out reforms that help create jobs and stimulate private enterprise.
This year, the region hosts an economy in the global top 20 grouping, with the United Arab Emirates' maiden entry, in 11th place. The region also hosts one of the top 10 improvers – Djibouti, which receives this distinction for a second consecutive year.
With six reforms during the past year, Djibouti leads the region in reform-count. Highlights of the reforms included creating a one-stop shop to make business start-ups easier; making property transfer less costly by reducing the registration fees and digitizing its land registry; and improving access to credit by broadening the scope of assets that can be used as collateral. Other reforms in Djibouti covered strengthening protections for minority investors, resolving insolvency and contract enforcement.
Egypt carried out five reforms in the past year, the highest number in a decade. It made starting a business easier by establishing a one-stop shop and strengthened minority investors protections by increasing corporate transparency. Other reforms included improving access to credit and making it easier to pay taxes and resolve insolvency.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) carried out four reforms, which included the elimination of all fees for industrial and commercial electricity connections and improving online registration for new businesses. The UAE also strengthened access to credit and made registering property easier by increasing the transparency of the land administration system.
Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia also implemented four reforms each during the past year. Reforms in Morocco and Tunisia included making business registration easier. Jordan's reforms included making contract enforcement easier and Saudi Arabia made Trading Across Borders easier, among other improvements.
Collectively, the region's economies focused their reform efforts in the past year on improvements in the areas of Starting a Business and Protecting Minority Investors, with seven reforms in each area.