EODB Rankings Augur Well for BRI Investments
The recently released World Bank Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings have interesting findings relating to some of the countries involved in China’s Belt-and-Road (BRI) infrastructure project. One of the major groups of countries to have improved EODB rankings since last year is Central Asia. Kazakhstan (+1.06), Azerbaijan (+3.12), Uzbekistan (+4.46), Ukraine (+1.90), Kyrgyz Republic (+0.54) and Tajikistan (0.93) have all moved up the EODB ladder.
The World Bank highlights Uzbekistan, ranked at 74, higher even than China (78), South Africa (82) and India (100), as one of the notable performers of the year. The Central Asian economies, along with some from Europe such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Turkey and Italy, have recorded improvements in their EODB rankings. The improvements have mostly come from the streamlining of regulations in registering property. At the same time, Thailand and Malaysia also have shown noticeable improvements in EODB with the World Bank noting Thailand as another key performer of the year. But what is perhaps most interesting is the rapid improvements shown by some Middle East and African countries. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kenya, Oman, Seychelles and Djibouti are some of the countries from these two regions with Djibouti being hailed yet again as a key performer. The Middle East as a region has improved in providing credit to investors while the African countries have taken big strides in the ease of starting businesses. All this augurs well for the prospects of future investments in the BRI. It is clear that the above-mentioned regions and countries, all of which figure either in the core, or close periphery of the BRI, are improving in their conditions for doing business. This should provide encouraging signals for Chinese firms looking to invest in BRI projects in them.