Ireland leads Forbes list as best place in the world to do business

5 Dec 2013

Ireland’s goal of becoming the best place in the world to do business by 2016 may already be a reality. According to business magazine Forbes, Ireland scores across the board when measuring business friendliness.

In Forbes’ eighth annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business, Ireland grabbed the top spot for the first time.

The country was the only nation that ranked among the top 15pc of countries in every one of the 11 metrics Forbes examined.

Ireland, it reported, ranked near the top for low tax burden, investor protection and personal freedom.

Ireland also ranked high in terms of the Irish Stock Exchange, which delivered a 44pc return in the 12 months to 20 November, ranking first among the top 30 countries.

Ireland’s reputation is being helped by the country’s status as digital capital of Europe – the go-to place for the international headquarters of the top 10 ‘born on the internet’ companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and many more.

However, the Forbes report noted uncomfortable truths about the Irish economy: nominal wages fell 17pc between 2008 and 2011, and unemployment remains stubbornly high at 12.8pc.

New Zealand ranked No 2 overall, down one spot from last year. Hong Kong ranks third for the second straight year, although economic growth has slowed for international trade and finance.

And rounding out the top 5 countries are Denmark and Sweden, which both boast highly educated workforces and higher GDPs per capita.

Ireland’s ranking in the Forbes study was welcomed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

‘Let’s build on this to create the jobs we need’ – Bruton

“Today’s finding by Forbes that we are the best country in the world for business is above all a testament to the hard work and innovation of our businesses and workers,” Bruton said.

“It is the latest in a range of indicators which shows that the environment for business here is steadily improving, and shows that the hard work and sacrifices of so many people are yielding tangible results in terms of international competitiveness and the jobs we so badly need.

“Government has a key role too in delivering improvements in the environment for business. Before the election we said that we would seek to make Ireland the best small country in the world for business and order to achieve this, we put in place the Action Plan for Jobs to drive change across the economy. Over the past two years every department and dozens of agencies have worked hard to deliver the reforms needed in competitiveness and improved supports for Irish and multinational businesses.

“Through continued implementation of the Action Plan this year and in future years, we in Government are determined to ensure that we sustain these improvements and cement our reputation as the best country in the world for business – and crucially, build on this to create the jobs we need,” Bruton said.

Dublin image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years