Doing Business in the Arab World 2012

Author: Doing Business
Published: May 29, 2012
Also available in Arabic (1986.1 KB PDF)


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Overview

Governments in 13 of 20 Arab economies implemented regulatory reforms in the past year aimed at improving the business environment for local entrepreneurs. Overall, these governments implemented 20 such reforms between June 2010 and May 2011. Morocco was the most active in encouraging entrepreneurship through regulatory reform.

Main Findings

  • Worldwide, 125 economies implemented 245 reforms making it easier to do business in 2010/11, 13% more than in the previous year. Among Arab economies, 13 implemented reforms making it easier to do business—20 such reforms in all. Half these reforms focused on making it easier to start a business or improving credit information systems.
  • Opportunities for regulatory reform and greater transparency remain. Entrepreneurs across the Arab world continue to face often complex and costly regulatory processes to start and run a business—and contend with weaker investor and property rights protections than their counterparts in other regions.
  • Morocco was the most active in implementing regulatory reforms in 2010/11. It launched a fully operational one-stop shop for obtaining construction permits. It eased the administrative burden of paying taxes for firms by enhancing electronic filing and payment of the corporate income tax and value added tax. And it adopted a new law modifying the rules of procedure governing commercial proceedings.
  • New data show the importance of access to regulatory information. Fee schedules, documentation requirements and information relating to commercial cases and insolvency proceedings are not readily accessible in some Arab economies. But the rise in e-government initiatives in the region and around the world provides an opportunity to increase access to information and transparency.
  • A new measure shows that over the past 6 years 94% of 174 economies covered by Doing Business—and 94% of the 18 Arab economies in the sample—made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. These economies moved closer to the "frontier," a synthetic measure based on the most business-friendly regulatory practices across 9 areas of business regulation—from starting a business to resolving insolvency. Among Arab economies, the Arab Republic of Egypt made the greatest progress in narrowing the distance to the frontier between 2005 and 2011, followed by Saudi Arabia.

Recent Reforms

View a brief summary of business reforms in the Middle East and North Africa.