World Bank says Caribbean economies lagging in reforms

The World Bank says economies in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag in terms of reforms as it relates to doing business in the region.

In its flagship publication ‘Doing Business 2020’, in which the World Bank Group assesses the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it, it noted that of the 294 regulatory reforms implemented between May 2018 and May 2019 worldwide, 115 economies made it easier to do business.

“Economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag in terms of reforms. Only two Sub-Saharan African economies rank in the top 50 on the ease of doing business; no Latin American economies rank in this group,” the World Bank noted. 

“Those economies that score well on doing business tend to benefit from higher levels of entrepreneurial activity and lower levels of corruption. While economic reasons are the main drivers of reform, the advancement of neighbouring economies provides an additional impetus for regulatory change,” the World Bank said, noting that, “26 economies became less business-friendly, introducing 31 regulatory changes that stifle efficiency and quality of regulation”.

Jamaica was the top named Caricom country ranked at number 71 of the 190 countries surveyed, followed by St Lucia (93), Trinidad and Tobago (105), Dominica (111), Antigua and Barbuda (113), The Bahamas (119), Barbados (128), St Vincent and the Grenadines (130), Guyana (134), Belize (135), St Kitts-Nevis (139), Grenada (146), Suriname (162), and Haiti (179).

The World Bank noted that economies that score highest on the ease of doing business share several common features, including the widespread use of electronic systems. It said all of the 20 top-ranking economies have online business incorporation processes, have electronic tax filing platforms, and allow online procedures related to property transfers.

The regions with the most cumbersome tax compliance processes remain Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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