Doing Business 2020–Sustaining the pace of reforms



World Bank Group

Regulation exists to protect workers, public safety, businesses, and investments. But inefficient or inadequate regulation can stifle entrepreneurial activity and business growth and impact the ease of doing business. It takes over 200 hours to complete export border requirements for maritime transport in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire. In contrast, it takes only 10 hours in Singapore. Border compliance costs for export at seaports in Gabon average over $1,600, but just over $300 in Mauritius.

Burdensome rules may drive businesses away from the oversight of regulators and tax collectors into the shadows of the informal sector or out of the country in search of a more supportive business environment. Foreign investors may shun economies where rules prevent economic activity from flourishing.

Cumbersome red tape holds back more than individual businesses or investors: an economy’s ability to grow sustainably may suffer. Economic freedom to do business goes hand in hand with economic development and a thriving private sector, and these in turn underpin poverty elimination and the pursuit of shared prosperity.

Doing Business 2020 measures regulations across 190 economies in 12 business regulatory areas to assess the business environment in each economy. Ten of these indicators were used to estimate an ease of doing business score this year, over the 12 months ending April 30, 2019. This is the 17th edition of a study that has motivated governments worldwide to undertake business reforms with the goal of bolstering sustainable economic growth.

The study looks at rules affecting a business from inception through operation to wind-down: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.


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