The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index is one of the most widely used global metrics
for assessing a country’s regulatory performance. Saudi officials have frequently employed it to
judge Saudi Arabia’s progress on two key Vision 2030 priorities—attracting foreign investment,
and bolstering the private sector.
This paper assesses Saudi Arabia’s position on the index, analyzing shifts in its score over time
and the areas where the Kingdom performs best and worst. It puts the Kingdom’s fluctuating
position on the index over the past decade in context, linking it to the methodological changes in
the index over the same period, and it identifies themes that define Saudi Arabia’s performance
across different regulatory fields, which point to the type of reforms that would help the Kingdom
improve its position on the index.