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WORLD BANK REPORT RANKS ARMENIA AHEAD OF CIS COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF EASE-OF-DOING-BUSINESS INDEX

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 13, ARMENPRESS: According to a new report, “Doing Business in 2006: CIS Economies Pick up the Pace of Reform,” issued by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation on September 12, the economies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are increasing the pace of reform to help small and medium businesses generate more jobs-with Georgia among the top global reformers.

But it also said that reformers in the region lag behind their Eastern European neighbors, and heavy legal burdens on business remain in most countries. Doing Business in 2006: Creating Jobs, cosponsored by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, finds that such reforms, while often simple, can create many new jobs.

“Jobs are a priority for every country, and especially the poorest countries. Doing more to improve regulation and help entrepreneurs is key to creating more jobs–and more growth. It is also a key to fighting poverty. Women, who make up three quarters of the work force in some developing economies, will be big beneficiaries. So will young people looking for their first job. The past year’s diverse range of successful reformers – from Serbia to Rwanda – are showing the way forward. We can all learn from their experience,” said Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank Group.

The annual report, which for the first time provides a global ranking of 155 economies on key business regulations and reforms, finds that every country in the CIS improved at least one aspect of the business environment-among the highest rate of reform of any region. But the pace of reform is slower than with the new entrants to the European Union, which are aggressively courting entrepreneurs with far-reaching reforms that streamline business regulations and taxes.

With regard to Armenia, it says the government introduced case management into courts, streamlining contract enforcement, increased the flexibility of employment law and established public credit registries. Overall, European nations were the most active in enacting reforms. The top 12 reformers in the past year, in order, were Serbia and Montenegro, Georgia, Vietnam, Slovakia, Germany, Egypt, Finland, Romania, Latvia, Pakistan, Rwanda, and the Netherlands.

In the list of world economies in terms of the report’s ease-of-doing-business index, Armenia ranked at 46, Russia at 79, Moldova at 83, Kyrgyz Republic at 84, Kazakhstan at 86, Azerbaijan at 98, Georgia at 100, Belarus at 106, Ukraine at 124, and Uzbekistan at 138.

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