How did the Caribbean do? – Caribbean Trade Law and Development

Alicia Nicholls

The World Bank has released its latest Doing Business Report (2020) – Sustaining the Pace of Reforms. With an overall rank of 71 out of 190 economies, Jamaica has retained its top spot as the English-speaking Caribbean’s easiest economy in which to do business, followed by St. Lucia which respectively has an overall rank of 93 out of 190 economies.

Although several Caribbean countries were highlighted for reforms implemented in 2018/19, no Caribbean country ranks within the top 50 countries. This means that the region still has much catching up to do in terms of ease of doing business.

Please see below the ranks of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries:

Economy 2020 Rank
Jamaica 71
St. Lucia 93
Trinidad & Tobago 105
Dominica 111
The Bahamas 119
Barbados 128
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 130
Guyana 134
Belize 135
St. Kitts & Nevis 139
Grenada 146
Suriname 162
Haiti 179

Turning to the wider Caribbean, Puerto Rico is the easiest Caribbean country in which to do business with a rank of 65. The Dominican Republic ranked 115.

Reforms and changes

The following Caribbean countries were singled out for reforms made in improving business or changes which made business more difficult:

Economy Area of Reform (whether positive or negative)
Antigua & Barbuda Starting a business (positive)
Barbados Getting electricity (positive)
Registering property (negative)
Trading across borders (positive)
Enforcing contracts (positive)
Belize Getting Electricity (positive)
Trading across borders (positive)
Grenada Starting a business (positive)
Guyana Trading across borders (negative)
Haiti Getting credit (positive)
Jamaica Registering property (positive)
Enforcing contract (positive)
St Kitts & Nevis Getting credit (positive)
St Vincent & the grenadines Paying taxes (positive)
Trinidad & Tobago Paying taxes (positive)

The international perspective

Overall, the easiest economies in which to do business were New Zealand (1), Singapore (2), Hong Kong (3), Denmark (4) and South Korea (5). The most difficult were Libya (186), Yemen (187), Venezuela (188), Eritrea (189) and Somalia (190).

The 10 top improvers in the 2020 report were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria, and accounted for one-fifth of all the reforms recorded globally.

The full World Bank Doing Business Report 2020 may be accessed here.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is an international trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

DISCLAIMER: All views expressed herein are her personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of any institution or entity with which she may be affiliated from time to time.

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