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Lessons from Singapore, Unchanged as Doing Business Leader from 2006 to 2015

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While other countries have fluctuated in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings, Singapore has remained at the top spot for nine years, with consistently high performing rankings in all of the sub-categories that comprise its overall Doing Business ranking. Its business friendly procedures mean that it has arguably the most competitive business environment in the world, and its FDI intensity is one of the highest globally as a result at 21.4% of total GDP in 2013. Other economies should pay attention to the importance of cutting red tape for businesses in order to gain a competitive advantage.


Source: Euromonitor International from World Bank/ UNCTAD

Why Singapore is consistent leader in Doing Business

  • For the ninth consecutive year, Singapore ranked first out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (Doing Business) 2015 report. The main reason for its high performance is that its performs consistently well across all of the ten sub-categories that make up its overall ranking;
  • Singapore’s best performing categories in Doing Business 2015 were “Trading across Borders” and “Enforcing Contracts” where it ranked first out of 189 economies. It took only 150 days to resolve disputes in Singapore, much shorter than the East Asia & Pacific average of 554 days. Even its worst performing category, “Registering Property” was still relatively high at 24th. For example, the cost for registering a property in Singapore was 2.8% of the property value, lower than the average of 4.5% for the East Asia & Pacific region as a whole.

Positive impact on FDI intensity

  • Singapore’s ultra business-friendly procedures mean that it has among the most competitive business environment in the world, and its FDI intensity is one of the highest globally at 21.4% of total GDP in 2013. This compares favourably to other major economies such as China, which had a Doing Business 2015 ranking of 90th and FDI intensity of 1.3% in 2013, and India, for which the respective figures were 142nd and 1.5%. Singapore’s high ranking illustrates the importance of easy to navigate business environments in order to attract foreign investment. This in turn provides the backbone of a healthy economy, creating jobs and contributing to stable government finances. Other economies should also work hard to simplify and streamline their business procedures.


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