Economies in the Middle East and North Africa region implemented the most reforms on record to ease doing business for domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and hosted four of the countries that improved the most world-wide, according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study.
Economies of the region put in place 57 business regulatory reforms in the 12 months to May1, up from 43 during the previous 12-month period covered by the study. Thirteen of the region’s 20 economies carried out reforms and the region’s average ease of doing business score improved by 1.8.
Economies of the Gulf region have been particularly active, implementing 35 business-climate-improving measures in the past year.
This year, the region hosts four of the world’s top 10 improvers: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait. These countries account for almost half of the region’s reforms. The United Arab Emirates remained the strongest performer overall in the region, placing 16th (out of 190) on the ease of doing business rankings.
“It is a year of records for economies in the Middle East and North Africa, and we are committed to continuing our support to all countries in the region ” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “The next generation of reforms should focus on transparency, fair competition and good governance to make MENA open for business and attract investments needed to create jobs for youth and women.”
Jordan joins the top reformers for the first time – with three reforms. The economy strengthened access to credit by introducing a new secured transactions law, amending the insolvency law and launching a unified, modern and notice-based collateral registry, among other measures.
Bahrain, with nine reforms, led both the region and the world in number of reforms implemented. The country recently introduced a new bankruptcy law, strengthened the rights of minority shareholders and revamped the process of obtaining building permits through a new online platform. Enforcing contracts was also made easier by creating a specialized commercial court, establishing time standards for key court events and allowing electronic service of the summons.
Saudi Arabia, this year’s top improver (based on the increase in its overall ease of doing business score), carried out a record of eight reforms in the past year. It established a one-stop shop for company incorporation and eliminated the requirement for married women to provide additional documentation when applying for a national identity card. It also made importing and exporting faster by enhancing the electronic trade single window, enabling risk-based inspections, launching an online platform for certification of imported goods, and upgrading infrastructure at Jeddah Port. Other reforms led to improving access to credit, strengthening minority investor protections and facilitating the resolution of insolvency.
Kuwait also earned a spot in the top 10 improvers for the first time with seven reforms. Building permitting was streamlined by integrating additional authorities into the electronic permitting platform and enhancing inter-agency communication. The country also made trading across borders easier by enhancing the customs risk management system and implementing a new electronic clearance system.
Morocco carried out six reforms: strengthening minority investor protections; reducing the corporate income tax rate; and introducing e-payment of port fees. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Oman implemented four reforms each. All three strengthened the rights of minority investors, streamlined business registration processes and made it easier for businesses to import and export goods.
Collectively, the region’s economies focused their reforms on getting electricity and protecting minority investors, with 40% of the countries in the region reforming in these areas (eight reforms in each).
Overall, the region performs the best in the areas of paying taxes, getting electricity, and dealing with construction permits. Obtaining a building permit takes on average 124 days, 28 days less than among OECD high-income economies. Similarly, entrepreneurs in the region need to complete 16.5 payments on average to comply with their fiscal requirement compared to 23 globally. Bahrain is the best performer globally in tax compliance time, requiring just 22.5 hours per year to file and pay taxes.
However, some economies in the region still fall short. Libya has not implemented any reforms since the inception of Doing Business, while Iraq has improved on only four indicators. Lebanon has made one reform to improve its business climate in the last five years and seven reforms since the first launch of the Doing Business study in 2003. It ranks 143rd globally, and especially underperforms in the areas of starting a business and dealing with construction permits.
Getting credit in the Middle East and North Africa remains harder than anywhere else in the world, partly due to insufficient protections for lenders and borrowers in collateral and bankruptcy laws. The region also underperforms in the areas of trading across borders and resolving insolvency. The cost of complying with border requirements for exporting averages $442 and takes 53 hours, three and four times more than the averages among OECD high-income economies. In bankruptcy, the average recovery rate in the region is 27 cents on the dollar, compared with 70 cents in OECD high-income ones.
Doing Business finds that barriers against women are still widespread in the Middle East and North Africa, with 13 of the region’s economies imposing additional procedures for female entrepreneurs to start a business.
Commission proposes to strengthen coordination of safe travel in the EU
European Commission has proposed to update the rules on coordination of safe and free movement in the EU, which were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the summer, vaccine uptake has increased significantly and the EU Digital COVID Certificate has been rolled out successfully, with more than 650 million certificates issued to date. At the same time, the epidemiological situation in the EU continues to develop with some Member States taking additional public health measures, including administering booster vaccines. Taking into account all those factors, the Commission is proposing a stronger focus on a ‘person-based’ approach to travel measures and a standard acceptance period for vaccination certificates of 9 months since the primary vaccination series. The 9 month period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses as of 6 months, and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens can have access to boosters.
The Commission is also proposing updates to the EU traffic light map; as well as a simplified ‘emergency brake’ procedure.
The Commission is also proposing today to update the rules on external travel to the EU [press release available as of 14:15].
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Commission has been fully active in finding solutions to guarantee the safe free movement of people in a coordinated manner. In light of the latest developments and scientific evidence, we are proposing a new recommendation to be adopted by the Council. Based on our common tool, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which has become a real standard, we are moving to a ‘person-based’ approach. Our main objective is avoid diverging measures throughout the EU. This also applies to the question of boosters, which will be essential to fight the virus. Among other measures, we propose today that the Council agrees on a standard validity period for vaccination certificates issued following the primary series. Agreeing on this proposal will be crucial for the months ahead and the protection of the safe free movement for citizens.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety added: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate and our coordinated approach to travel measures have greatly contributed to safe free movement, with the protection of public health as our priority. We have vaccinated over 65% of the total EU population, but this is not enough. There are still too many people who are not protected. For everyone to travel and live as safely as possible, we need to reach significantly higher vaccination rates – urgently. We also need to reinforce our immunity with booster vaccines. Taking into account the guidance from ECDC, and to allow Member States to adjust their vaccination campaigns and for citizens to have access to boosters, we propose a standard acceptance period for vaccination certificates. At the same time, we have to continue to strongly encouraging everyone to continue to respect public health measures. Our masks need to stay on.”
Key updates to the common approach to travel measures within the EU proposed by the Commission are:
Focus on a ‘person-based approach’: a person who has a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate should in principle not be subject to additional restrictions, such as tests or quarantine, regardless of their place of departure in the EU. Persons without an EU Digital COVID Certificate could be required to undergo a test carried out prior to or after arrival.
Standard validity of vaccination certificates: To avoid diverging and disruptive approaches, the Commission proposes a standard acceptance period of 9-month for vaccination certificates issued following the completion of the primary vaccination series. The 9 month period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses as of 6 months, and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens can have access to boosters. This means that, in the context of travel, Member States should not refuse a vaccination certificate that has been issued less than 9 months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. Member States should immediately take all necessary steps to ensure access to vaccination for those population groups whose previously issued vaccination certificates approach the 9-month limit.
Booster shots: As of yet, there are no studies expressly addressing the effectiveness of boosters on transmission of COVID-19 and therefore it is not possible to determine an acceptance period for boosters. However, given the emerging data it can be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series. The Commission will closely monitor newly emerging scientific evidence on this issue. On the basis of such evidence, the Commission may, if needed, propose an appropriate acceptance period also for vaccination certificates issued following a booster.
The EU traffic light map is adapted: combining new cases with a region’s vaccine uptake. The map would be mainly for information purposes, but would also serve to coordinate measures for areas with particularly low (‘green’) or particularly high level (‘dark red’) of circulation of the virus. For these areas, specific rules would apply by derogation from the ‘persons-based approach’. For travellers from ‘green’ areas, no restrictions should be applied. Travel to and from ‘dark red’ areas should be discouraged, given the high number of new infections there, and persons who are neither vaccinated nor have recovered from the virus should be required to undergo a pre-departure test and quarantine after arrival (with special rules for essential travelers and children under 12 years old).
Exemptions from certain travel measures: should apply for cross-border commuters, children under 12 and essential travellers. The list of essential travellers should be reduced as many travellers included in the current list have had the opportunity to be vaccinated in the meantime.
Simplified ‘emergency brake’ procedure: the emergency procedure intended to delay the spread of possible new COVID-19 variants or address particularly serious situations should be simplified and more operational. It would include a Member State notification to the Commission and the Council and a roundtable at the Council’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR).
To allow for sufficient time for the coordinated approach to be implemented, the Commission proposes that these updates apply as of 10 January 2022.
What is the Difference between a Sensor and Transducer?
What Do We Understand by a Transducer?
A transducer is an electrical gadget or device that can convert energy from one of its forms into another through the process known as transduction. In most cases and general scenarios, the appliance or instrument can transform a signal from one state into another. The conversion of electrical energy into its mechanical variation is an example of the kind or type of work a transducer can perform.
The most common places where a transducer finds application are the boundaries and margins of control systems, measurements, and automation. The electrical gadget can perform its actions and functions for a few specific conditions and circumstances. Let us choose an example to understand it. A transducer works when a given electrical energy or signal experiences transformation from any form or state of a physical quantity to another. The latter variable or parameter can include force position, motion, light, torque, etc.
What Do We Understand by a Sensor?
A sensor is a unique type of transducer. It receives a signal or a stimulus from a specified physical system and sends a response for it. The device generates and produces a return signal that depicts and represents the data and information of the entire arrangement. Such an approach can get used in different and distinct kinds or sorts of control, statistical, or telemetric systems.
A sensor comes with the ability and capability to detect distinct alterations and changes in its surroundings and environment. After locating the variations, it sends the collected and interpreted material and information to some other form or version of electronics. In general instances, it entails a computer processor. In other cases, manual and human deciphering can also get chosen.
What are the Various Types or Categories of Transducer?
Based on several factors, a transducer can get divided into different types or categories. The first basis of classification can comprise the manner or fashion in which the electrical instrument functions and operates. The kind of work it performs can also get included. In such a case, a transducer can be of the following two varieties or types:
- Mechanical Transducer
A mechanical transducer can change any physical quantity. It can transform it into its mechanical counterpart and form.
- Electrical Transducer
An electrical transducer can change any physical quantity. It can transform it into its electrical counterpart and form.
Besides the mentioned basis of categorization, a transducer can be of two more types. It depends on the style of job that the instrument performs.
- Input Transducer
An input transducer utilizes a specific state or particular form of a physical quantity or variable. It converts it into a readable and interpretable signal. An example that falls under this category includes a microphone. It accepts the produced and created sound waves and works to change them into an electrical form of signal. After that, the parameter or element can get moved or transported to the amplifier. It is feasible with the help of a wire connection system.
- Output Transducer
An output transducer operates in a manner that is the exact opposite of an input transducer. It utilizes the received electrical signals and changes them into some other state or form of energy. An example that falls under this category includes a lamp. It accepts electricity and alters into light energy.
What are the Various Types or Categories of Sensors?
A sensor can be of several types, a few of which entails:
- Position Sensor
A position sensor computes the distance traveled by a body from its reference or starting point. It measures the angular or the linear position. The device does so by comparing the acquired value with a specified location. Furthermore, it can determine the presence and location of an object.
- Strain Gauge
A strain gauge works to compute strain or force. Its resistance changes with the degree of applied force, leading to various electrical outputs. This method helps assess pressure, weight, and tension.
- Flow and Level Switch
A flow and level switch computes liquid or dry substances using a relay, millivolt, or current outputs.
- Vibration Sensor
A vibration sensor computes a machine, system, or equipment’s vibration frequency. The obtained results help to find and determine imbalances and other issues. It also works to correct them.
- Photo Optic Sensor
A photo optic sensor determines the distance and presence of an object. It does so using a photoelectric receiver as well as a light transmitter.
- Humidity Sensor
A humidity sensor computes air humidity conditions at any time and place.
- Force Sensor
A force sensor computes the magnitudes of load, strain, compression, and force.
- Pressure Sensor
A pressure sensor regulates various electrical gadgets and appliances. It also measures a fluid or a gas’ flow and speeds indirectly.
- Fluid Property Sensor
A fluid property sensor checks the dynamic and proportionate relationship between different physical properties. It helps assess the quality, contaminant load, and condition of the fluid.
- Piezo Sensor
A piezo sensor converts a physical variable like acceleration or pressure into an electrical signal. In addition, it can gauge the change in strain, acceleration, and pressure.
- Temperature Sensor
A temperature sensor computes the change in temperature of a gaseous, liquid, or solid matter.
How Does a Sensor Differ From a Transducer?
A sensor is a type of transducer. Nevertheless, each of the electrical instruments has significant points of difference between themselves. A few of their distinctions comprise:
A transducer resembles a translator. On the other hand, a sensor is more like a detector.
A transducer comprises a signal conditioning component and a sensor. A sensor has no additional parts.
- Performance Complexity
The working and operation of a transducer are more complicated than that of a sensor.
- Feedback System
A transducer delivers feedback to a specified system with the help of an output device. It happens after the processing steps end in the signal conditioning component. However, a sensor cannot do so.
- Output Signal Form
A transducer converts the output signal into an electrical form, while a sensor makes no changes.
Russian mining giant builds new settlement for indigenous peoples
The FPIC procedure, first used in Russia by the Norilsk Nickel mining company, has entered a new stage. A second round of consultations with residents of the Arctic workers’ village of Tukhard (in the Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets District of the Krasnoyarsk Territory) took place. The company reported in a press release.
In October 2021, it was reported that FPIC procedure was started.
At the gathering of residents in the framework of the second round, the issues of consent of the residents of the village to the procedure for obtaining FPIC, as well as the formation of a body for making collective decisions of the residents of Tukhard (Council of Representatives) were brought up. The gathering was attended by 78 residents of the village and tundra reindeer herders.
Tukhard was established as a temporary residence for shift workers producing gas in the area in 1970th, and the development of the village did not provide for the creation of any infrastructure. Due to the lack of possible infrastructure development, taking care of the quality of life, safety and health, the company operating in this region – Norilsk Nickel, offered residents the opportunity to choose a better option for life.
Independent international experts invited by the organizer of the procedure, the Interregional Public Organization for the Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “KMNSOYUZ”, took part in the meetings with residents. Among them are Alexey Tsykarev, a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Corporate Advisor to the World Bank on Indigenous Issues, author of the current World Bank policies on indigenous peoples’ rights Navin K. Rai, lawyers in the field of protecting the rights of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation Mikhail Todyshev and Antonina Gorbunova. The procedure was advised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya and other experts.
Dr. Navin Rai, who is visiting the Taimyr Peninsula as an Independent Expert for drafting the Indigenous Peoples Policy, noted that “the indigenous peoples of Tukhard, including those families who practice reindeer herding in the tundra, are currently negotiating with the Norilsk Nickel Company the specific parameters for the proposed physical relocation.” He underlined that “the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) requires that these indigenous peoples have the right to say “no.” However, the result of the negotiations may result in an outcome that is acceptable to both the indigenous peoples and the Company.”
During the gathering, a Council of representatives of the inhabitants of the village of Tukhard was formed, consisting of 7 people. It included both those who in the future wish to move to other settlements, and those who wish to continue their life in Tukhard. The Council also includes reindeer herders who live on a permanent basis in the tundra. Taking into account the interests of reindeer herders who are registered in Tukhard but do not have a permanent place of residence in the village is one of the main requirements of international experts.
The next round of FPIC negotiations is expected in the first quarter of 2022.
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