Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Best (And Worst) Countries For Doing Business

This article leads to a list of the alleged 10 best and worst countries to do business. The good news for Greece: Greece does not show up among the 10 worst countries. The annoying news for Greece: its Northern neighbor FYROM made it to the 10 best countries (as #10). I am not really familiar with FYROM but I am sure that this ranking will trigger some conversation in Greece.


  1. It made me wonder, for a nation so close geographically and culturally to Greece, and an even more troublesome past.

    Searching "Invest in" revealed a wealth of hard facts on Macedonia, not only by the government but also booklets by KPMG, PwC etc., the sort of info I would normally spend time and money on if I was to do a site survey for any new project.
    They listed detailed prices of electricity, natural gas, water, wages based on sector and region, minimum wage etc.
    They listed detailed tax holidays, taxes on companies, persons, re-invested profit, social contributions, VAT rate, custom and excise duties etc.
    They listed workforce technical skills for the various branches (mechanical, electrical, transport, IT, chemical etc.) at two levels (high school and university).
    They listed the services they could provide you with and described the 27 economic promoters, operating from offices abroad, to facilitate investment. They had a host of professional brochures for down loads.
    So could I skip a site survey? No, but it would be easy, just to re-confirm.

    For Greece I found the official government page (Enterprise Greece) with its flowery language about "the cradle of democracy", "endless investment opportunities", "excellent human capital", "geopolitical and historical position" etc.
    They also informed that there were no representatives abroad, but one was welcome to contact an embassy (it would have been more smart to nominate the 150 trade attaches they have to be THE economic promoters). When trying to get answers on questions (FAQ) you mostly get linked to a law, in Greek. Another link is to buy a book called Greek law Digest.
    I also found 2 presentations for international investors by Tsipras, one by Alexis and one by Georgios. They both asked for investments in Greece because "Greece deserve it and need it".
    So, could I skip a site survey? Yes, I realized that, in spite of my intimate knowledge of Greece, I would never be able to produce the necessary info with any certainty. I could never make a credible budget or business plan.

    Why the big difference? They started out with roughly the same ranking, Greece was 87 in 2006 and is 60 today, Macedonia was 83 in 2006 and is 12 today (World Bank ease of doing business). I think Macedonia got some good international advice and acted upon it. Greece, on the other hand was too busy playing world power and victim.

    1. Back in October of 2011, I had written about my own experience with FYROM. I still remember that slick performance in Munich close to ten years ago!


  2. Yes, I remember thinking Macedonia? No way. He has been taken for a ride by a road show staged by Deloitte. However, if you look at their positions year after year, it is obvious that a person (or group) with clout, around 2006 said I (we) want this to happen. We don't want to know why it is not possible, we just want it to happen. And from 2008 it paid of, year after year.
    I just re-read your 2011 piece, it was good, but it made me sad or frustrated that it is still as relevant 4 years after.
    It reminded me of something else you said about the same time, don't hang me on the words but the way I read it you ventured that, "the Greeks don't want this project to succeed, that would prove them wrong. They don't care how many are going to suffer in order to make it fail". At that time I thought that not even Greeks could be that stubborn and foolish. Alas, they were.