Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Eastern Europe: The second most improved region over the past decade

Eastern Europe is the second most improved region over the past decade.

The change seen in the region’s prosperity is due to the following improvements and deteriorations.

  • Every country has improved their market access and infrastructure, with large and universal improvements in their communications infrastructure: mobile networks now service over 90% of the region’s population and the proportion of people across the region who use the internet frequently has increased from 32% to 76% since 2010. The greatest improvements were in Azerbaijan (74th) and Albania (62nd) which saw rises of 20 and 16 ranks respectively in this element.
  • Enterprise conditions and the investment environment have improved in all but two and three countries across the region respectively. The improvement in the investment environment is due in large part to greater protections of property rights. This improvement has been particularly prevalent in Moldova (80th), Bosnia and Herzegovina (84th), and Armenia (49th).
  • Social capital, which has historically been weak across the region, has improved in 20 of the 23 countries in Eastern Europe, chiefly in the Balkan states of Serbia (85th) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (76th). Increasing public trust in institutions, such as the judicial system and the police, and strengthening social networks has led to the improvement.
  • Eastern Europe has seen the biggest deterioration in personal freedom of any region, despite social tolerance improving. Freedoms of assembly and association have been particularly eroded in Ukraine (93rd), Hungary (101st), and Poland (65th), with a concomitant decline in the freedom of speech and access to information in the latter two countries.
  • The deterioration in Eastern Europe’s safety and security has been driven primarily by the war in Donbass, Ukraine (144th): it is estimated that more than 13,000 people have been killed since the conflict began, and more than 1.6 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced.