The UAE has climbed up to reach the 22nd position in World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 list from the 23rd position last year and has topped the region in terms of the ease of conducting business.
The list, compiled by the World Bank, ranks 189 countries on the basis of economic reforms introduced over the last year.
According to the report, the UAE was also one of the top 10 countries that improved its ranking over the last year as it introduced almost 20 economic reforms meant to ease the conditions to do business.
Some of the recent reforms by the UAE include a new service centre that facilitates the process of transferring property and the establishment of a standard contract for property transactions, the global finance body said in a statement.
The World Bank noted that the Al Etihad Credit Bureau which began to function in September, will also provide improved access to credit information.
The UAE also strengthened minority investor protections by introducing additional approval requirements for related-party transactions and greater requirements for disclosure of such transactions to the stock exchange.
“The country introduced a requirement that directors be held liable in a related-party transaction that is unfair or constitutes a conflict of interest; and by making it possible for shareholders to inspect the documents pertaining to a related party transaction, appoint auditors to inspect the transaction and request a rescission of the transaction if it should prove to be unfair,” the World Bank said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was ranked 49th in the list while Qatar followed at the 50th position. Other GCC members such as Bahrain and Oman ranked at 53rd and 66th respectively.
Kuwait ranked at the bottom of the GCC countries as the Gulf state made starting business more difficult by increasing the commercial license fee, the World Bank said.
Overall, out of 20 economies in the Middle East and North Africa, 11 countries implemented at least one regulatory reform, making it easier to do business in the year from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014.
Egypt implemented the largest number of reforms at 24, followed by the UAE, which had 20 while Morocco and Saudi Arabia saw 19 each.
Globally, the top 10 countries that had the most favourable conditions to do business were Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Korea, Norway, the US, the UK, Finland and Australia.