There are several information sources to help you evaluate a country for investment. If you simply need to know where a country is on the earth, search on line using Google Maps. For example, in the address bar of your browser simply type in maps.google.com and search for Panama. This will bring you to the little Central American country at the narrowest part of the Americas. If you want to know more about Panama you can also do something as simple as go to Wikipedia and type in Panama. But, a better source of solid info about a country and help with how to evaluate a country for investment is the CIA Factbook. Just type those words into a Google search and you will find a good source of basic information about any country that you choose. These are good places to start your fundamental analysis of how to evaluate a country for investment. But, there are sources that go into greater detail and are more specifically aimed at investment in or doing business with a country. Here are a few tools and thoughts about how to evaluate a country for investment.
The World Bank
The World Bank is a repository of excellent information regarding investing offshore. Whether you are contemplating foreign direct investment or buying stocks via ADRs, the World Bank has very useful information to help evaluate a country for investment. A useful page of results from the World Bank business project is the ease of doing business index page which ranks nations from 1 to 189 for a composite of factors that make doing business easy or difficult.
Ease of doing business ranks economies from 1 to 189, with first place being the best. A high ranking (a low numerical rank) means that the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation. The index averages the country’s percentile rankings on 10 topics covered in the World Bank’s Doing Business. The ranking on each topic is the simple average of the percentile rankings on its component indicators.
Interestingly Singapore ranks number one in this regard and Hong Kong is number two. The USA is number four and our little country of Panama ranks 55. This page takes you via hyperlinks to a great deal of useful info for any given country and breakdowns of the data used for the general ranking, such as ease of hiring and firing, available credit and ease of importing and exporting.
Travel Is a Good Thing
No matter how much you read about another country there is nothing like a trip to Warsaw, Bogotá or Ho Chi Min City to get a feel for a country and help evaluate a country for investment. Language is always an issue which is why we mentioned the little country of Panama where English is the official second language and where there was no recession following the 2008 market crash! Some time back we wrote about investment and the Panama Canal expansion. There are places in the world that are easy to get to, easy to navigate and where the economy holds promise. Fly down to Tocumen Airport in Panama, stay at the Marriott or Hotel Panamá and see the city. The same applies to Bogotá, Warsaw or Ho Chi Min City. You simply need to check out travel arrangements and find accommodations where you can deal with an English speaker.