According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report, the Saudi government made four major reforms during the year, which included cutting registration fees for new businesses by 80 per cent, improving protection for minority shareholders, introducing electronic registration for property deeds and making it easier to close a business.

Saudi Arabia was followed by Bahrain at 18, Qatar at 37, the UAE at 46 and Kuwait at 52.

Egypt introduced more reforms than any other Middle Eastern or North African country in 2007, but was still ranked 114 out of 181 countries worldwide.

Algeria, Iran and Iraq were the three lowest ranked economies in the region at 132, 142 and 152 respectively. None of them introduced any reforms during 2007, according to the report.