Georgia is the only lower-middle-income country to rank among the top 10 countries in the world for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report published on October 31.
The small country in the South Caucasus is also the one to have implemented the greatest number of business regulation reforms among the top 20 ranked since 2003 - some 47 reforms in total. Georgia thus ranks higher than much wealthier economies, like Sweden, Finland, Canada, France or Australia, and improved its ranking by seven positions compared to the 2017 index.
Some notable improvements Georgia made in the last year include making electricity more affordable by reducing connection costs for new customers, expanding shareholders' roles in company management, improving the process of reorganising insolvent companies and strengthening creditors' rights. As in past years, Georgia ranks as the best country in the world for ease of registering property in this year's index.
Meanwhile, neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan ranked lower - 47th and 57th respectively - in the index. Compared to 2017, Armenia dropped nine positions in the index, while Azerbaijan improved its standing by eight.
Armenia's poorer performance took place despite the fact that it streamlined the procedures necessary to obtain electricity and its land dispute resolution mechanism, partly because of the country's poor ranking for dealing with construction permits. Thus, obtaining a construction permit in Armenia takes on average 98 days.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's improved ranking is due to progress made in facilitating access to credit, protecting minority investors, resolving insolvency and enforcing contracts. However, the country ranks as one of the worst in the world for dealing with construction permits - 161st out of 190 nations. Obtaining such a permit can take up to 242 days. Having electricity installed is also a lengthy process that takes an average 69 days.
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