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The worst business regulations in the world

Doing Business in 2006 was published today (midnight GMT), tracking the state of red tape across the world with the usual sparky reporting and jaw-dropping data. (OK, I'm biased: my name is in the acknowledgements.)

There are many wise things to be said about this data, and I'll try to say them over the next few days. But since this is a blog let me go for the cheapest headline. The top ten business environments in the world, as measured by the 'Ease of Doing Business index':

New guest blogger: Iva Ilieva Hamel

Doing Business in 2006: Generating Jobs is being launched tonight, so Iva of the Doing Business team will be guest blogging with us for the next few days. She will be traveling with World Bank-IFC PSD VP Michael Klein to London and Johannesburg to launch the new report, and will be sharing with us her insights along the way. Our first guest blogger! (and hopefully many more to come)

Aid works! No it doesn't!

In a debate on the BBC News website, Frederik Erixon explains:

The new 'big push' of development aid has been tried many times before but always with dismal results. The call for redoubling aid to eradicate poverty has been responded to many times over, but it has never delivered what it promised.

Jeff Sachs retorts:

Failure is acceptable

The Shell Foundation has recently published 'Aid industry reform and the role of enterprise'. (Disclosure: I once worked for Shell.) The report - really an extended op-ed - offers an interesting contrast between what an entrepreneur has to do to get a loan, and what the aid industry needs to do.

There's now a pretty strong consensus that official development assistance not only failed to boost economic growth in poor countries, but on the whole appears to have reduced it.

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