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Doing Business 2013 Report & Latin America

October 25, 2012
by Fernanda Luchine
Research Associate

The Doing Business 2013, a co-publication of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank (WB), was released on October 22. Each year Doing Business examines the business regulatory environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 185 countries around the world.  Each country is ranked according to its overall performance based on indicators such as how long it takes to obtain business licenses, construction permits, export licenses, investor protection, and access to credit.

The highest ranked Latin America and Caribbean country is Chile (37th), followed by Peru (43rd), Colombia (45th) and Mexico (48th).The Doing Business analysis does not necessarily reflect the social-economic and political disparities in the region. Brazil has had great success in lowering the poverty rate, but is only placed on the 130th in the business ranking.  

The 2013 report praises Colombia for having a real impact on economic growth by improving its business regulatory framework in a gradual but sustained way.  Colombia’s initial focus was on simplifying transaction costs, and then it moved to more complex reforms, such as institutional strengthening. Colombia, according to the IFC, is now the regional leader in delivering most impactful changes that have led to a better regulatory business framework. The IFC singles out Costa Rica as the only Latin America and Caribbean country to streamline processes in four of the eleven indicators in the past year.

While the Doing Business report can help investors understanding the business environment, the intent is to guide policy makers in their decision process. It puts into perspective where their economies stand in comparison to the rest of the world, which areas need to be improved in order to create an enabling environment for SMEs, and highlights best practices.

There is a positive correlation between a country’s performance on Doing Business and levels of foreign direct invest (FDI). It doesn’t seem that the report brings investment but that it is the conditions reflected in the report that attract or deter FDI.

If Latin American and Caribbean’s top performers are Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, which countries are the worst? Bolivia (155th), Suriname (164th), Haiti (174th), and Venezuela (180th). And just so you know, Singapore is ranked in first as a place to do business, while the United States is fourth.  

Check out the full report.  There’s a wealth of information. www.doingbusiness.org/


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