Economic Growth

These are the world's easiest places to do business

Skyjumper Brad Smith performs a skyjump atop the Sky Tower in Auckland September 28, 2011. Picture taken with a fisheye lens. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (NEW ZEALAND) - SR1E79S0GKK1B

For starting a business, New Zealand comes in 1st overall. Image: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Camilla Hodgson
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Economic Growth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Economic Progress is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Economic Progress

London — The UK has retained its place in the top ten countries worldwide for ease of doing business, despite Brexit uncertainty and warnings from British business leaders.

This year's Ease of Doing Business report by the World Bank puts the UK above many of the world's leading economies, including Germany and France, and the ease of starting a business has actually improved.

The ranking uses 11 indicators to measure aspects of business regulation across 190 countries worldwide. Of the top 20 economies in the list, 14 are high-income OECD economies.

However, many countries are implementing significant reforms: India is one of the top ten to have improved most this year, although it still ranks 100th. Sub-Saharan Africa now has the widest variation in performance across the countries ranked: while Mauritius comes in 25th place, Somalia is 190th.

Keep scrolling for the top 12 economies in the ease of doing business ranking:

12. Estonia — same place as last year.

This country performs particularly well for registering property, which takes an average of 17.5 days and costs 0.5% of the property's value, and for starting a business, which takes an average of 3.5 days.

11. Macedonia — down from 10th last year.

This is the only upper-middle-income economy on the list, and has carried out the second highest number of reforms among the top 20. These have included sweeping construction reforms, which significantly reduced the number of procedures and time it takes to build a warehouse.

It also scores particularly highly for protecting minority investors, coming in 4th overall.

10. Sweden — down from 9th last year.

Sweden has especially good information available about properties, including an online system allowing anyone to freely access ownership information and maps dating back 400 years.

Meanwhile, it takes an average of seven days to start a business, and two years to resolve insolvency.

9. Georgia — up from 16th last year.

This is the only lower-middle-income economy in the top 20, and has implemented the highest number of business regulation reforms (47) since the World Bank began the ranking in 2003.

This year, Georgia improved on the ease of resolving insolvency, ease of accessing electricity and strength of shareholder rights, including how easy it is for minority investors to sue directors.

8. Norway — down from 6th last year.

This year Norway made paying taxes less costly by reducing the statutory corporate income tax rate.

It also performs particularly well, coming in 6th overall, for resolving insolvency, which takes an average of 0.9 years and costs 1% of an estate.

7. UK — same place as last year.

The UK remains in the same spot as last year, despite the vote to leave the EU and ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

However, the country dropped from 20th to 29th place for ease of getting credit. It also plummeted from 10th to 23rd place for ease of paying taxes, after filing trax processes became more difficult.

6. United States — up from 8th last year.

This year the US (Los Angeles) improved labour market regulation, establishing a maximum of six working days of paid sick leave a year.

The country also comes in third for resolving insolvency. Meanwhile, information about land ownership is freely available in the US.

5. Hong Kong — down from 4th last year.

Hong Kong made starting a business more expensive this year, by reintroducing the business registration fee. However, it improved the quality of its land administration system, making registering property easier.

The country is also third overall for starting a business and for paying taxes.

4. Korea — up from 5th last year.

Korea scores highly for enforcing contracts (1st overall), getting electricity (2nd overall) and starting a business (9th overall).

In the construction field, an independent third party cannot charge more than 1.29% of the estimated construction cost.

3. Denmark — same place as last year.

Denmark made dealing with construction permits more expensive this year by raising the cost of building permits and the cost of obtaining a water and sewage connection. However, it still ranks 1st overall in construction.

It is also 1st overall for trading across borders.

2. Singapore — same place as last year.

This year Singapore adopted legislation requiring employers to notify the Ministry of Manpower when terminating a group of nine redundant workers.

It also amended its Companies Act to make ownership more transparent, and now requires locally-incorporated companies and foreign companies registered in Singapore to maintain beneficial ownership information and to make the data public upon request.

It also made exporting and importing easier by improving infrastructure and electronic equipment at the port.

1. New Zealand — retains the top spot from last year.

New Zealand, along with 16 other economies this year, reformed the way taxes are paid by introducing systems for filing and paying taxes online.

The country scores highly for building regulations, and all relevant legislation can be found on an official government website.

For starting a business, New Zealand comes in 1st overall: it has the smallest number of procedures required (one) and the shortest time to fulfill them (0.5 days).

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Why we must act now to revive women’s leadership prospects in an AI-driven workplace

Sue Duke

June 12, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum