File Photo: Women work in a factory that makes men's suits in 10th of Ramadan City, Egypt, Feb. 22, 2006. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt rose four places in the Doing Businesses index for 2017 compared to the last year's report to be placed 122nd out of 190 countries, the World Bank’s group said in its annual report released on Tuesday.
Last year, the published report said that Egypt's overall rank was 131st out of 189 countries; however earlier this year, the rank was revised to 126th, meaning that the 2017 ranking is five spots higher than the original 2016 ranking.
Egypt took the fifth place among comparator economies in the MENA region in terms of the ease of doing business, scoring 56.64 points and was preceded by UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Egypt was among the report’s top countries which have improved in the category of “Starting a Business”, rising 31 spots from the year before to register rank 39th.
The government facilitated the launching of businesses "by merging procedures at the one-stop shop by introducing a follow-up unit in charge of liaising with the tax and labor authority on behalf of the company," the report said.
The country also climbed 41 spots to rank 88th in the category of "Getting Electricity" and ranked the same as 2016 as 162nd.in the "Paying Taxes."
Egypt rose 15 places to rank 114th in Protecting Minority Investors “by increasing shareholder rights and role in major corporate decisions and by clarifying ownership and control structures,” said the World Bank Group.
However, in the field of “Trading Across Borders” and “Getting Credit” Egypt retreated noticeably down to 168th from 157th and from 78th to 82nd respectively.
The process of obtaining and processing documents became more complex after the government imposed restrictions on foreign exchange deposits and withdrawals for imports, according to the report.
In August, Egypt's cabinet approved a draft law allowing individuals to start one-person companies, as part of its efforts to encourage new SMEs.
Egypt’s central bank announced last January the launching of a four-year programme to increase financing of SMEs - which the government considers key contributors to the state’s investment and production sectors.
Women and businesses
Nonetheless, the MENA region continues to lead in gender disparities, as women entrepreneurship lags in 70 percent of the region's economies.
This year's report titled "Equal Opportunity for All" introduces a gender perspective to a number of indicators (Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts) to assess business friendly economies.
While Egyptian women enjoy some rights to property and maternity leave, they encounter a number of barriers in access to business and employment.
The report stated that there is no equal remuneration to women compared to men for work of equal value, and added gender discrimination in hiring persists.
Husbands continue to enjoy the right to stop wives from leaving homes, according to the Personal Status law of 1985, the report said.
The annual report examines regulations and regulatory processes involved in setting up and operating a business in economies worldwide, measures factors like the time it takes to start a business, the ease of registering property, and access to credit, among others.