The World Bank has released the "Doing Business 2009" survey (overview here), which tracks the ease of doing business in 181 economies across the globe. The most heartening highlight of this year's report is the performance of many African countries, with numerous successful examples of reforms involving simplification of procedures for registering property and starting business.
Singapore, New Zealand, US, Hong Kong and Denmark are the five most business friendly destinations, while India fell two notches down to the 122nd place. Eastern Europe and Central Asia were the top performing regions in initiating reforms to facilitate entrepreneurship, while South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were the least friendly ones.
Doing Business ranks economies based on ten indicators of business regulation that record the time and cost to meet government requirements in starting and operating a business, labor regulations, accessing credit, trading across borders, paying taxes, contract enforcement, and closing a business. The rankings do not reflect such areas as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates.
Here is an excellent comparison of how India stacks up against the best in the world in different parameters related to opening and running businesses.
More from The Economist, here and here.