USC Annenberg School For Communication and Journalism

Business Reforms Pass in Record Numbers!!!

According to Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, World Bank’s annual report on the ease of doing business in a country, a record 137 nations have adopted reforms that made it easier for individuals to start and operate a small to medium size business in their respective countries.

In 2016, a total of 238 reforms were passed by the 137 nations. Developing nations were responsible for 75% of the reforms, with Sub-Saharan African nations leading the charge with 25% of all reforms.

Reforms on starting and doing business is important for several reasons. Giving citizens clear and simple rules on starting a business can promote and encourage entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship can translate to economic benefits and more economic opportunities for women. The report also cites a research indicating that reforms and improvement in Doing Business is associated with a decrease in income inequality.

This year, the top 10 nations that reformed and improved its standing are as follows: Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Though not all news is good news. This year’s report added gender measures to three indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property, and Enforcing Contracts. The report found that there were 23 nations that made it more difficult for a woman to start, operate, or transfer a business than it was for a man.

Here is the number breakdown in reforms by regions around the world. East Asia and Pacific nations’ business reforms picked up significantly as it passed and implemented a total of 45 reforms. Europe and Central Asia region made great strides as 4 nations finished in the top 10 in improvers, as the region has showed the highest average of reforms per year. Latin America and the Caribbean region improved as two-thirds of the nation in the region passed 32 reforms, with Brazil leading the charge. The Middle East and North Africa saw 35 reforms pass, but the region faces the biggest gender disparity gap in business reform. In the South Asia region, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka combined to pass 11 reforms as Pakistan finished in top 10 of improvers. Unfortunately, Afghanistan and Pakistan lagged behind in gender disparity. The Sub-Saharan Africa passed a total of 80 business reforms, an improvement of 14%. Kenya lead the way, and finished top 10 in improvers for the second year in a row. Though Sub-Saharan African has made the biggest improvements in 2016, 13 nations in the region still showed a gender disparity.

Much change and reforms have been made, but more changes need to be made. Read more in the report.