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18 best countries to start, run business

THE World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report is just out — it’s the most authoritative source in the world for which countries are most friendly to entrepreneurs, and where it’s least onerous to keep an enterprise running.

Financial Matters by Mike Bird

The World Bank calculates its own score for each country, based on the “distance to frontier”. That tracks how far each country is from the best ever score for a number of different measures. Those measures include things like how long it takes to get necessary permits, how long it takes to establish a business, and how burdensome the regulatory and tax environments are.

Although Zimbabwe has climbed 16 places to position 155 out of 189 countries on the ranking, the business environment remains difficult. Here is how those best countries look this year:

18. Malaysia (unchanged) — this global hub for Islamic finance holds its place, and is one of the most business-friendly countries in the developing world, beating many more advanced economies.

17. Ireland (from 13th) — not only has Ireland slipped this year, it’s dropped quite a way in the last five years. In 2011, it was ranked ninth in the world.

16. Estonia (unchanged) — the highest-ranked Baltic state keeps its crown, fighting off competition from Lithuania. It’s one of nine European countries that make it into the list.

15. Germany (from 14th) — Europe’s biggest economy has generally made progress since 2011, when it came in 22nd place. It’s the second best-ranked country in the eurozone.

14. Canada (from 16th) — The United States’ northern neighbour registers an improvement this year, but has some ground to make up if it wants to go back to where it was seven years ago, when it came in seventh.

13. Australia (from 10th) — despite a modest decline this year, Australia remains the second highest-ranked country in the whole of the southern hemisphere.

12. Macedonia (from 30th) — as well as being one of the poorest countries at the upper end of the list, Macedonia surged up the ranks, rising from 38th five years ago.

11. Taiwan (from 19th) — the island state off the coast of China is another impressive climber. Not only did it rise eight places this year, but it’s risen from 33rd place since 2011.

10. Finland (from 9th) — despite a drop this year, Finland has improved over the last five years, rising from 13th. It sneaks into the top 10, one of five European countries that does.

9. Norway (from 6th) — though Norway has slipped a little, it still holds a top 10 spot. It’s only the third best-ranked Scandinavian nation, showing how well that part of the world performs.

8. Sweden (from 11th) — the country’s climb in the ranks makes it to the third most business-friendly country in Europe, and the second most in Scandinavia.

7. United States (unchanged) — the world’s biggest economy still holds a relatively high spot, but has lost ground relative to five years ago, when it came in fifth.

6. United Kingdom (from 8th) — home to Europe’s biggest financial centre, the UK was credited by the World Bank for a cut in corporation tax and comes second in terms of European countries.

5. Hong Kong (from 3rd) — China’s premier financial city and an access gateway for westerners, Hong Kong has slipped down the rankings. As recently as 2011, it vied with Singapore for the top spot.

4. South Korea (from 5th) — in recent years South Korea has become much more business-friendly, according to the World Bank, rising from 16th just five years ago.

3. Denmark (from 4th) — this country tops the list for European countries, and has quietly climbed from sixth in the last five years. Though it’s known for its Scandinavian-style welfare state, it’s a dynamic business-friendly economy too.

2. New Zealand (unchanged) — this tiny economy has become a model to emulate in terms of its approach to start-up business. On the World Bank scoring system, it’s now less than one point away from the overall winner.

1. Singapore (unchanged) — this financial hub went through a dramatic growth period during the 20th century, and has now topped the World Bank Ranks for 10 straight years. — businessinsider.

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