St. John’s Antigua- In the latest World Bank International Financial Corporation’s Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World report, Antigua & Barbuda was second only to St Lucia in being recognised as the top places to conduct business in the Caribbean.
Antigua ranked 57, and just above it was St Lucia at 52, in the report issued last Monday that assessed regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranked the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders.
In contrast, The Bahamas was much further down at 85, while Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, which have traditionally been seen as major corporate centres in the region, were ranked at 68 and 88, respectively. However, Jamaica was the only Caribbean country to be highlighted as an example of territories that make it easy to register property thanks to its using an electronic database for encumbrances.
Barbados did not feature in the ranking at all but St Kitts & Nevis and St Vincent & the Grenadines, which are increasingly promoting their reputation as international business centres, stood at 95 and 75, respectively. The other Caricom nations making it into the top 100 were Belize at 93, Dominica at 65, and Grenada at 73. Guyana and Haiti did not make it above this bar, ranking at 114 and 174, respectively.
Overall, Singapore continues to be the top-ranked country for doing business, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Iceland and Ireland.
In its Executive Summary, the International Financial Centre noted that worldwide 125 economies implemented 245 reforms making it easier to do business in 2010/11, 13 per cent more than in the previous year. In low- and lower-middle-income economies a greater share of these changes were aimed at strengthening courts, insolvency regimes and investor protections than in earlier years.
The World Bank institution said this pick-up in the pace of regulatory reform was especially welcomed for small and medium-sized businesses since they were the main job creators in many parts of the world.