For the first time, an African country, Rwanda, is the World Bank’s biggest business reformer, while Singapore leads overall world rankings for the fourth straight year as the easiest place to do business.
According to the Doing Business 2010 report compiled by the International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank’s private-sector lender, Rwanda led 10 developing countries in regulatory reform over the past year, Reuters reports.
The tiny land-locked east African country has won international support for reforms and social programs that have helped turn it around since a 1994 genocide.
Other leading reformers were Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Moldova, Colombia, Tajikistan, Egypt and Liberia.
“Rwanda has been consistently reforming year in and year out since 2001,” said Neil Gregory, advisor for financial and private-sector development at the World Bank.
IFC said Rwanda completed 7 out of 10 regulatory reforms by which Doing Business ranks countries. The changes in Rwanda protect investors, and make it easier to start a business, register property and access credit.
The rankings of 183 countries, now in its seventh year, are based on analysis of regulations of business start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business.
Gregory said this year’s Doing Business report showed more countries were implementing regulatory reforms despite the global financial crisis, with 60 percent of economies reforming in every region.
Three Asia-Pacific economies, Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong, took the top three spots in the global ranking for ease of doing business, followed by the United States, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Two thirds of the regulatory reforms were in developing countries.
In 26 out of 27 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, governments pursued regulatory reforms in at least one area, the report said.
In the Middle East and North Africa, 17 out of 19 countries in the region introduced business reforms with Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates the most active.
Also, 17 industrial countries pursued regulatory reforms which focused on easing the corporate tax burden and improving property registration systems. Britain, which was ranked sixth last year, climbed one notch to 5th place.
Georgia moved to 11th place from 16th in the rankings on ease of doing business.
Iceland, hard hit by the financial crisis, fell 14th place from 11th. Colombia moved to 37th position from 49th, while Venezuela ranked among the worst performers in 177th place.
Central African Republic remained last at 183 after the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome, Congo Republic and Chad.
Pic: Flag of Rwanda