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Across the Asia-Pacific region, the news is mixed when it comes to ease of doing business, but at least the Pacific Islands are better than the likes of Burma and Somalia. Or, are they? When it comes to doing business, there are few places worse, it seems, than Burma, also known as Myanmar.

That’s at least according to the World Bank, which ranked the once pariah state as worst in Asia and the Pacific—at 182nd of 189 rated economies—on the ease of doing business. From the nations of Melanesia to Micronesia and on to Polynesia, though, no one should take heart in the retort, “Well, at least we’re better than Burma, let alone Somalia.” Nor should governments in the region see investment from a relatively more risk-tolerant and resourcehungry China, or continued assistance from the United States, as long-term, sustainable solutions to the challenge of creating jobs and growing economies.

Rounding out the “Top 5” for worst in the AsiaPacific region in The World Bank 2014 Doing Business report—the latest annual assessment of the ease of doing business in economies around the world—are Timor-Leste (179th); Afghanistan (164th); Laos (159th); and the Federated States of Micronesia (156th). Other Pacific islands nations likewise fared poorly. Kiribati ranked 122nd; the Marshall Islands, 114th; Palau, 100th; the Solomon Islands, 97th; and Vanuatu, 74th. Best of the lot were Tonga at 57th; Samoa at 61st; and Fiji at 62nd. Clearly, investing in the islands nations of AsiaPacific is a world away from Somalia.

That nation is quite literally off the charts, with the World Bank report, once again skipping Somalia completely. Lawlessness and lack of reliable data are no doubt two of the factors why Somalia continues to be absent in the rankings.

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