Top 5: Ease of Doing Business in 2023

Why is it easier to do business in some jurisdictions than others, and what are the top five emerging business hotspots?

Image credit: Shutterstock / Anton Balazh


We often hear about business hubs, where a growing cluster of local and international businesses coexist in a synergic ecosystem, while new businesses are continually launched.

But why is it that such hotspots of business exist?

Cast your mind back to a few decades ago; is there anything specific about, say, Singapore, the UAE, or Cyprus that is suggestive of a good future in terms of business and economic development?

The answer is probably “no!”

The aforesaid places along with several others have become the business hotspots of the world—at least partly—because of macro-level policymaking which has made these jurisdictions conducive to businesses activities.

Launching a business requires a set of prerequisites ranging from registration to arranging credit and organizing cross-border logistics, and these things are evidently easier to do in some jurisdictions than others.

The World Bank publishes an “ease of doing business” index which takes into account a multitude of such variables: the time required to obtain permits, legal protections for investors, and the ease of trading across borders, among other factors.

Each year, the World Bank assigns a business-friendliness score to each of 190 countries under its radar and publishes the index.

Since the introduction of the new edition of annual rankings in 2013, we have witnessed some significant upward mobility in the ranking of certain developing economies, where doing business has become steadily easier over the last decade.

Below is a list of such countries. Long-established business hubs such as the UAE or Malaysia are not included in this list.


This Caucasian country has come a long way since its independence from the USSR in 1991.

In just over two decades of presence in the global free market economy, Georgia has become the 7th top jurisdiction in the world in terms of ease of doing business, according to the World Bank.

The country’s strong suits are the ease of starting a business by foreign nationals as well as the ease of entry to Georgia’s growing construction market.

The World Bank also notes that Georgia has a generally good track record in “protecting minority investors.”


Back in the mid-2010s Thailand was among the top 50 countries in ease of doing business, but by the year 2020 Thailand had made its way to the top 20—a position that the tropical Asian country still holds.

As of 2023, Thailand is regarded as a highly business-friendly territory.

According the World Bank’s country profile, Thailand seems to be reasonably good at “protecting minority investors,” while it is also among the worlds top 10 countries in ensuring that industrial enterprises receive their required electrical energy—up to 60% of which will come from renewable sources by the year 2040.


Montenegrin people have been in charge of their own country since 2006 and the nation’s largely peaceful independence from Serbia.

Over this short period of time, however, Montenegro has turned into a business-friendly environment—perhaps even the best in the Balkans. Following the establishing of streamlined economic channels with the US, Montenegro has seen a “rebound of economic activity,” which has “boosted government revenues and created a favorable business environment for domestic and foreign investment,” noted Modern Diplomacy in 2023.

One of Montenegro’s strong suits is the ease of arranging credit for new businesses. Taking care of permits is also said to be reasonably easy in Montenegro, at least compared to other countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.


As the most business-friendly jurisdiction in Africa, Morocco has multiple foreign trade agreements (FTAs) in place with fellow Arab countries, the EU (signed in 1996), and the US (signed in 2004), which encourage foreign businesses to setup shop in the North African country.

With so many FTAs, it no surprise that “trading across borders” is seen as one of the advantages of doing business in Morocco in the assessment of the World Bank.

The country’s good score in ease of doing business is also thanks to its reasonable taxation system and streamlined process of permit issuance.


Located near some of the largest business hubs in Western Asia, Oman also has the makings of a business hotspot itself.

The country’s exemplary diplomacy and long-standing political stability make Oman a reliable destination for international investment.

The country’s strengths include its flexible tax system and—rather obviously for a GCC economy—ease of trading across borders. This latter is thanks to both the presence of a supportive regulatory framework and transportation megaprojects such as Duqm.

Closing notes

The fact that Georgia, Thailand, Montenegro, Morocco, and Oman have been ranked high in terms of ease of doing business is certainly a good omen not only for their business sector but also for their economies in general, as economists have long been aware of a robust positive correlation between ease of doing business and macro-level economic growth.

Ease of doing business has an impact on other macroeconomic variables such foreign direct investment (FDI).

It is not surprising that capital often flows toward markets where there are fewer obstacles ahead of business, and we will likely see an influx of capital in the aforementioned countries in 2023-2024.