World Bank to launch more transparent business rankings

The World Bank is set to announce a new methodology for assessing the business climate in up to 180 countries after embarrassing revelations of data irregularities and favouritism towards China forced it to cancel the ‘Doing Business’ rankings two years ago.

The bank said a pilot edition of the new replacement annual series called ‘Business Ready’ would be published in the spring of 2024, covering an initial group of 54 economies in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Subsequent reports adding more countries will follow in the next two years as the bank refines its methodology and ramps up the new flagship project, which aims to help countries attract investment and boost jobs and productivity to accelerate development.

The bank scrapped Doing Business in September 2021, citing internal audits and an independent probe that found senior World Bank leaders had pressured staff to alter data to favour China, and cited data irregularities that also boosted rankings of other countries.

“Business Ready improves upon and replaces the World Bank Group’s earlier Doing Business project. It reflects a more balanced and transparent approach towards evaluating a country’s business and investment climate,” the bank said in a statement.

World Bank chief economist Indermit Gill said the new approach enabled “a fuller and sharper measure of the investment climate of countries – something that is badly needed in a global economy in the midst of a generalised slowdown.”

‘Business Ready’ was shaped by recommendations from World Bank experts, governments, the private sector, and civil society groups, and includes for the first time worker rights, as defined by the International Labor Organisation, while acknowledging that regulation can also have positive aspects.




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