“Cautiously optimistic” was the expression used by financial experts at the end of the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. With economic growth slowing down in the last quarter, with old and new risks still present and a risk for volatility in the near future, 2014 was still considered to be a positive year. Here is a list of 5 best countries to do business in at the moment:

5) Sweden

GDP $552 B
GDP Growth: 0.9%
GDP/Capita: $40,900
Trade Balance: 7.1%
Population: 9.7M
Public Debt As % of GDP: 42%
Unemployment: 8.1%
Inflation: 0%

The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 Stockholm

Sweden is an extremely attractive country to invest and do business in for a wide variety of reasons. It is known for its political neutrality and peace keeping, and an enviable standard of living. With great attention payed to corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices, and advances social characteristics (from gender equality to anti-corruption measures), it’s highly educated workforce achieves one of the highest GDP per capita in the world.

Scoring high in technology and innovation, Swedish companies set a worldwide reputation for corporate strategies and practices, earning the country the reputation for breeding “tomorrow’s geniuses”. Its stable economic policies, combined with innovation, competitiveness and an open approach to trade make Sweden an exemplary model for economic success.

4) Ireland

GDP $221 B
GDP Growth: 0.6%
GDP/Capita: $41,300
Trade Balance: 3.3%
Population: 4.8M
Public Debt As % of GDP: 124%
Unemployment: 13.5%
Inflation: 0.6%

The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 dublin

Formally Exiting the EU-IMF program in late 2013, achieving its deficit-reduction targets and successfully refinancing its large bank-related debt, Ireland continues its steady economic growth, and continues to attract many foreign investors. The Irish Stock Exchange Overall Index has seen a 44% return in the past year, which along with its 12.5% corporate tax rate – one of the lowest in Europe – and unique pro-business environment, make it an incredibly attractive country to do business in.

Dublin currently serves as European headquarters for numerous tech firms such as Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, gaining the reputation of the continent’s tech-centre. The country has seen a near $130 billion investment from the U.S. alone between 2008 and 2012, establishing itself as the go-to location for many multinationals, with the added benefit of sharing a common language with anglophone countries. Ireland’s business friendliness, investor protection and personal freedom are making it’s small yet modern trade-dependant economy thrive.

3) New Zealand

GDP $181 B
GDP Growth: 2.5%
GDP/Capita: $30,400
Trade Balance: -4.6%
Population: 4.4M
Public Debt As % of GDP: 38%
Unemployment: 6.4%
Inflation: 1.3%

The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 NZ

New Zealand ranks high on the list of top counties to do business and live in for a variety of social, political and economical reasons. It boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world at around 99%, and is considered to be the most socially progressive country in the world. Seeing heavy development in the past 20 years, from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access, to a more industrialised, free market economy that can compete globally, seeing income per capita rising from the 90’s up until 2007. Breaking out of recession in 2009, it has achieved a steady 2-3% growth per year since 2010. Although certain key trade sectors are still exposed to weak external demand, the government is planning infrastructure development in a bid to raise productivity growth. It’s comfortably growing economy, supported by free public healthcare, efficient schooling system and incredible geographical features make it desirable to work and live in.

2) Hong Kong

GDP $272 B
GDP Growth: 2.9%
GDP/Capita: $52,700
Trade Balance: 2.1%
Population: 7.1M
Public Debt As % of GDP: 36%
Unemployment: 3.1%
Inflation: 4.4%

The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 HK

Hong Kong has a free market economy, and depends heavily on its international trade and financial services. With no tariffs on imported goods (its government only levies duties on hard alcohol, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol, regardless of origin) and absence of dumping quotas, Hong Kong’s trading business, which includes a large amount of re-exports, is valued at four times its GDP. Continuing its close link to the US dollar, the country is also strengthening it’s ties with China, from trade and financial links, to tourism, and encouraging the flow of the Chinese RMB in its economy, making the mainland Hong Kong’s largest trading partner, accountable for about 57.4% of the Exchange’s market capitalisation, with improved access to the mainland’s service sector as agreed under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, which became effective in January 2014.

It does however, heavily depend on imports, as its natural resources, food and raw materials are limited. Moreover, Hong Kong’s manufacturing industry has moved to the mainland over the past decade, therefore making its service industry boom. A large demand for housing, combined with credit expansion have made the country’s property prices raise dramatically, with consumer prices raising by more than 4% in 2013. Famous for it’s incredible efficiency, safety and unique lifestyle, beautifully balanced between a high paced urban energy and traditional values, Hong Kong is a very attractive country for business and for quality of life.

1) Denmark

GDP $324 B
GDP Growth: 0.1%
GDP/Capita: $37,800
Trade Balance: 6%
Population: 5.6M
Public Debt As % of GDP: 47%
Unemployment: 6%
Inflation: 0.8%

The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 The 5 Best Countries To Do Business in 2014/2015 copenhagen

Considered the happiest country in the World, Denmark has one of the world’s most advanced economies, and is characterised by incredibly forward minded political and social qualities – such as the civil right to healthcare and education (including higher education). The Danes are very concerned with their countries welfare, having a remarkably positive influence on it’s prosperous economy – for example: over 40% of Danes do voluntary work, and the countries has over 100 000 organisations which generated DKK 35.3 billion in economic value, combined with the value growth from the non-profit sector, public subsidies and membership fees, it represents 9.6 of the country’s GDP.

Denmark has a highly modern market economy, and great supporters of trade liberalisation. Although highly dependant on raw materials for it’s manufacturing industry, Denmark exports food, energy, and has world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, and ultra modern agricultural sector. The Dane’s high standard of living, characterised by thorough government welfare measures and an equitable distribution of income, supporting the countries increasingly strong fiscal position, with its public debt at 46% of its GDP at the end of 2013.