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18. Bahrain
2009 rank: #18
2008 rank: #17 (adjusted)

Bahrain wasn't included in last year's "Doing Business" report, but if it had been, it would have ranked at #17, according to the World Bank's researchers. (All 2008 rankings were recalculated to accommodate methodological changes and new additions to the list.)

Starting a business in this Persian Gulf nation doesn't cost much, but it does require that you have a hefty sum in the bank. On the other hand, taxes don't weigh too heavily on entrepreneurs in Bahrain - they take only 36 hours a year to file and cost just 15% of profit.

Obtaining a construction permit is also fairly efficient, as paperwork can be completed in 56 days. When it comes to resolving commercial disputes, however, things can get a little longwinded -- it takes 48 procedures and 635 days to enforce a disputed contract. Access to credit is also likely to pose a problem for entrepreneurs in Bahrain: the legal rights of borrowers and lenders are relatively weak, and less than half the adult population is listed by a credit bureau.

NEXT: 19. Belgium

Source: All data comes from "Doing Business 2009," a publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Detailed methodological information is available at www.doingbusiness.org.
LAST UPDATE: Sep 11 2008 | 1:18 PM ET
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