Despite a slight fall from their 2019 high of 11th position, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) still scores highest in the region in the latest Ease of Doing Business ranking, at 16th.
Now in its 17th edition, the report from The World Bank Group measures business regulations and their enforcement across 190 countries. It uses ten indicators such as opening a business and accessing finance to rank countries by the extent to which they affect business activity.
Notwithstanding the dip in the overall ranking for the UAE, the report noted the extent to which continued successful reforms in the country have "served as an inspiration" in the wider region. It went on to add that changes in policy "across the Gulf economies have been on a steady rise...motivated in part by the urgent need for economic diversification."
Specific areas in which the UAE showed improvements were in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, protecting minority investors, paying taxes and notable in trading across borders - reducing the time and cost required to export goods.
The score for the UAE continued the positive trend for financial news in the country following Dubai's ascent to eighth in the global financial centre ranking earlier in September 2019. The only centre within the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region to appear in the top ten, it was listed 12th as recently as March 2019.
In another success story for the region, Saudi Arabia was singled out as the most improved economy in Doing Business 2020, with eight reforms. The report noted with a "reformist mindset, the crown prince has implemented and promoted a policy of featuring the Kingdom as an open world-class investment destination."
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