World Bank releases ‘Doing Business 2015’ report

The World Bank yesterday announced the 12th edition of its Economy Rankings, which measures the ease of Doing Business in 189 countries.

Ease of Doing Business 2014I’ve commented on the Doing Business report for 2013 where the UK was 7th in the ranking, and for 2014 where we’d slipped to 9th. In the 2011 report we were placed 6th. So over recent years other nations have being overtaking us in ease of doing business. Not good.

It’s pleasing therefore that in the Doing Business 2015 report that the UK has reversed this trend, and we are placed 8th. Well ahead of economies, such as Germany 14th, Japan 29th and France 31st. Both India and China don’t fare well, being placed 142nd and 90th respectively.

It’s also pleasing that the UK had performed well in this year’s report, with its revised method of calculation, which the Financial Times describes as,

moving away from the past method of ranking countries by an aggregate of their scores in various areas such as how long it takes to register a business or how easy it is to pay tax. Instead, the bank has constructed a “Distance to Frontier (DTF)” score/index that is meant to be a better measure of countries’ progress against the best practice “frontier”.

In fact, the Doing Business 2015 report finds that using the new measurement methodology,

“local entrepreneurs in 123 economies saw improvements in their regulatory environment in the past year. From June 2013 to June 2014, the report, which covers 189 economies worldwide, documented 230 business reforms—with 145 aimed at reducing the complexity and cost of complying with business regulations, and 85 aimed at strengthening legal institutions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the largest number of reforms.”

Improvements to ease of doing business are important underpinnings to global growth,  and will help improve business start ups in emerging economies.

Now back to the UK. I wrote about last year’s report, saying, “It still amazes at how lowly we are ranked in getting connected to electricity, 74th, and that this has worsened in the last year by 10 points. Looking at the detail it takes 126 days to get a connection. Bad, Bad, Bad.” Well, the 2015 report shows little or no improvement in this indicator. Also, the UK shows marginal changes in most other indicators.

My overall report marking for the UK: In a highly competitive world where many countries are making big improvements, the UK must do better next year.

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