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Sun 8 Nov 2009 03:35 PM

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Mideast needs to improve insolvency rules - World Bank

Top official says Arab states are lagging behind on bankruptcy, contract laws.

Middle East nations must focus on improving insolvency regimes and contract enforcement to create better business environments, the World Bank said on Sunday.

“For the United Arab Emirates, as for most economies in the Arab world those systems could stand to improve,” Dahlia Khalifa, senior strategy adviser for the World Bank, told a conference in Abu Dhabi where the Washington-based lender released its 2010 Doing Business in the Arab World report.

Creditors in the region get on average 16-17 cents on the dollar if a company goes bankrupt, below the average level for emerging markets, the bank’s insolvency specialist Mahesh Uttamchandani told the conference.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, was ranked the friendliest country to do business in the region followed by Bahrain, according to the World Bank survey.

The UAE ranked third, followed by Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

The report focused on the process of setting up and operating businesses, property rights, efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the engine for job creation and the basis for economic growth, including in the Arab world,” said Khalifa.

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