Singapore has once again topped the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings. It is the fifth consecutive year it has taken the number one position.

Moving up to second place is Hong Kong, swapping places with New Zealand. The UK and the US are numbered four and five, respectively. Perhaps not coincidentally, Singapore and Hong Kong rank first and second in the category for trading across borders.

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When it comes to paying taxes, however, the two countries are beaten only by the Maldives and Qatar.

Chad finished last on the list of the overall rankings, below the Central African Republic and Burundi.

Overall the report's authors expressed satisfaction that countries were working towards making their economies more business friendly. The report stated: "In the past year, governments in 117 economies carried out 216 regulatory reforms aimed at making it easier to start and operate a business, strengthening transparency and property rights, and improving the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures."

It was also particularly pleased by efforts made by developing economies, which, while usually having lower rankings, have been increasingly active in improving their business environments.

Neil Gregory, acting director for global indicators and analysis at the World Bank, said: "Governments worldwide have been consistently taking steps to empower local entrepreneurs.

"The economies most affected by the financial crisis – especially in eastern Europe – have been targeting regulatory reforms over the past year to make it easier for small and medium-size enterprises to recover and to create jobs.”