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Dubai: The UAE is fully geared to achieve number one ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in the year 2021, Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) said on Sunday.

In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020, published in October this year, the UAE was ranked at 16th position in the global ranking of 190 countries.

“In 2010, we had set the target of achieving the overall top tanking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in 2021. We have come a long way in reforms that saw a steady rise in our rankings over the past few years. We believe our targets are achievable,” said Lootah.

The UAE is hosting the World Bank’s 3rd Doing Business Technical Deep Dive on December 10 to 13, where participants from across the world will share their experience in bringing about reforms that resulted in improvements in ease of doing business.

The Technical Deep Dive gathers reform experts and policymakers to discuss the methodology and indicators of the Doing Business report, share best practice on identifying bottlenecks to private sector development and enacting relevant reforms, participate in targeted capacity building and networking sessions and use those interactions to update their country’s reform action plans.

“Holding the third Doing Business Technical Deep Dive here in the UAE is a testament to the country’s success in firmly establishing itself as a destination of choice for business and economic leaders, partners, and organisations. It reflects the great confidence our partners at the World Bank have come to place in the UAE to host meetings of this high calibre,” said Lootah.

The UAE and other GCC countries have made significant strides in introducing reforms that have seen their global rankings in ease of doing business and competitiveness improving steadily over the last few years.

In 2019, the UAE was ranked 11th position in the World Bank ranking. Despite a small dip in the overall ranking this year, the UAE continues to keep its score high in key areas of the global ranking.

The World Bank report this year made a special mention of reforms undertook by the UAE such as making starting of a business less expensive by reducing the fees for business incorporation, easier construction permits by using a risk-based approach to reduce the number of inspections, improving minority investor protection, ease of paying taxes and making trading across borders easier by reducing the time to export by fully digitising certificates of origin and the cost to import by issuing certificates of conformity that cover multiple shipments.

“UAE ranks 16th globally and is the highest-ranked economy in the Middle-East and North Africa region. In the coming days, many aspiring reformers from across the globe will come to learn from the UAE’s best practices and share their efforts aimed at narrowing the gap with top reforming economies in the world. The Technical Deep Dive is a unique learning platform that helps countries accelerate and deepen their reform agendas based on such peer-to-peer exchanges,” said Cemile Hacibeyoglu, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank Group.

Regional focus

The 2020 Doing Business report showed that reform expertise is growing in the Middle East and Africa regions. Economies in the Middle East and North Africa implemented a record 57 business-friendly reforms and hosted four of the countries that improved the most worldwide in the ease of doing business — Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is the most improved economy in Doing Business 2020, with a total of eight reforms.

In its latest report, The World Bank report made a special mention of improvements across the GCC in business reforms and the role of UAE as an inspiration for its neighbourhood.

“The business regulatory reforms across the Gulf economies have been on a steady rise. These changes are motivated in part by the urgent need for economic diversification. Successful reforms in neighbouring states, such as the United Arab Emirates, have also served as inspiration,” the report said.