Doing Business in Azerbaijan

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Doing Business 2009 launched last Wednesday. So Friday found us in Baku to celebrate Azerbaijan's place as DB09's top reformer. We determine top reformers by looking at countries that have reformed in at least 3 of the areas of business regulation measured by the DB project, and then looking at who jumped most in the overall rankings. Azerbaijan this year reformed in 7 areas - from cutting the red tape around business and property registration, to substantially strengthening protections for minority shareholders, and streamlining tax administration with an on-line filing and payment system. 

And these were big reforms:

  • Time to register a business fell by half - generating a 40% increase in business registration in the first 3 months.
  • Time to register property fell from 61 to 11 days.
  • Time to file taxes fell by 500 valuable hours per year.


Azerbaijan jumped an unprecedented 64 places in the DB rankings, to the #33 spot. But while the DB team is still catching its breath (okay, we're also making the jetlag excuse), Azerbaijan officials are looking ahead to the next reform steps and the benefits they can bring. The "top reformer" spot, said one Azeri official, is like an advance payment on the real prize: a more diverse and vibrant economy founded on a stronger domestic business sector.

One last thing. If you're looking for more information on how governments can go about making reforms, check out this case study of how Azerbajian set up a one-stop shop. And expect more on top reformers here in the days ahead!

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