The ease of doing business in Latin America has improved over the past 15 years, by halving the number of days it takes to start a business a little more than a month on average, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business annual report.

Those economies that score well on Doing Business tend to benefit from higher levels of entrepreneurial activity and lower levels of corruption.

Brazil is the country that has improved the business climate the most in the last year, after implementing four reforms in that direction, while Mexico, despite the fall from number 49 to 54 in the world, retains leadership in Latin America, the report details.

After Mexico, Chile (56), Colombia (65), Costa Rica (67) and Peru (68) were ranked as the best-ranked Latin American countries.

Doing Business 2020, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 17th in a series of annual studies measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Download here.

Other Latin American countries evaluated are Panama, which appears at number 79, El Salvador (84), Uruguay (95), Guatemala (98), Brazil (109), Argentina (119), and Venezuela, which again appears near the bottom, number 188 of 190.

Since 2003, the largest number of reforms related to the start-up of companies has been registered in Latin America, where it has gone from 78 days necessary to open a company to the current 32.

Doing Business 2020 measures regulations across 190 economies in 12 business regulatory areas to assess the business environment in each economy. Ten of these indicators were used to estimate an ease of doing business score this year, over the 12 months ending April 30, 2019. This is the 17th edition of a study that has motivated governments worldwide to undertake business reforms with the goal of bolstering sustainable economic growth.

A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.

The rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate scores on 10 topics, including the opening of a business, obtaining electricity, registering property, achieving Credit and investor protection, based on the regulations applicable to small and medium-sized local businesses, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. The rankings for all economies are benchmarked to May 2019.

“Continuous and sustained progress is essential to improve the climate for business in countries and promote private enterprise. It is encouraging to note that the implementation of reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean is constant,” said one of the authors of the “Doing Business 2019” report, Santiago Croci, in a statement.

Best places to do business

The 2020 report highlights that those economies that score well on Doing Business tend to benefit from higher levels of entrepreneurial activity and lower levels of corruption. Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag in terms of reforms.

The top 10 best places in the world to do business, according to the study, are:

  1. New Zealand (with a score of 86.8 out of 100)
  2. Singapore (86.2)
  3. Hong Kong SAR, China (85.3)
  4. Denmark (85.3)
  5. Republic of Korea (84)
  6. United States (84)
  7. Georgia (83.7)
  8. United Kingdom (83.5)
  9. Norway (82.6)
  10. Sweden (82).

How does the ease of doing business in Costa Rica measure up?

Click here for the details of starting a business in Costa Rica – procedure, time and cost.

Download the Costa Rica economy profile here (PDF format).