The UAE provides the easiest and quickest way for foreign investors seeking to set up a project in the Arab region, according to the World Bank.
In its “Ease of Starting Business Index” for 2013, the Washington-based Bank ranked the UAE the 22nd in the world and first in the Arab region, noting that the second largest Arab economy jumped from the 46th rank in 2012.
The Index, part of the “Ease of Doing Business Index” covering 185 countries, ranked the UAE the top nation in the world in terms of paying taxes after it was ranked 7th in 2012. The tax sub-index covered total number of tax years, labour tax, total tax rate to profits, time needed to pay tax and profit tax, which was put at zero.
The index, published by the Kuwaiti-based Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation (IAIGC), a key Arab League establishment, showed the UAE was ranked 13th in the world in terms of dealing with construction permits, 7th in getting electricity for the project, and 5th in trading across borders. But it was given low rankings in terms of protecting investors, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
UAE officials, however, have spoken of measures to improve the investment climate, expedite procedures, allow full foreign ownership and issue a landmark debt law. The Ministry of Finance said last month the debt law, which will also tackle bankruptcy, has been drafted and would be approved soon.
IAIGC’s report showed Egypt was ranked second in the Arab world by ease of starting business, following by Morocco, Tunisia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar. Yemen was ranked 10th in the region followed by Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, Kuwait, Algeria, Mauritania, Iraq, Palestine and Djibouti.
“The World Bank’s 2013 ease of staring business index showed that there was not a single Arab country among the 20 top nations,” IAIGC said.
“Three Arab states succeeded in moving ahead in the index, mainly the UAE which jumped 24 points to take the 22nd position…the other two are Morocco and Sudan.”
The report showed Singapore got the roping ranking in that index, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Britain, South Korea, Georgia, Australia and Finland. The last rankings in the index were given to three African countries-- the Central African Republic (185), Chad (184) and Congo (183).