World Bank Introduces A More Reliable, Open Rankings Of The Business Climate

After being forced to withdraw its flagship rankings two years ago due to embarrassing disclosures of data discrepancies and favouritism towards China, the World Bank on Monday presented fresh methodology and stronger safeguards for evaluating the business climate in up to 180 nations.

In September 2021, the bank discontinued its “Doing Business” rankings, alleging internal audits and an independent investigation that revealed senior World Bank management had put pressure on staff to change data to China’s advantage. It identified data errors that also helped other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Azerbaijan, rise in the rankings.

In the spring of 2024, a pilot edition of the “Business Ready” annual replacement series will be released, encompassing a first batch of 54 economies in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the following two years, more nations will be included as the bank improves its approach and scales up the new project, which aims to assist nations in luring investment and boosting jobs and productivity to speed up development.

“Business Ready … reflects a more balanced and transparent approach toward evaluating a country’s business and investment climate,” the bank said in a statement.

Indermit Gill, the chief economist at the World Bank, claimed that the new method allowed for “a fuller and sharper measure of the investment climate of countries,” which was desperately needed in an economy that was experiencing a generalised recession.

The World Bank’s “Business Ready” initiative was created by suggestions from governments, the business sector, and civil society organisations. It contains for the first time the International Labour Organization’s definition of worker rights while also embracing the benefits of regulation.

“The main thing that went wrong was the data integrity of Doing Business was compromised,” Norman Loayza, director of the World Bank’s Indicators Group, which leads the project, told Reuters. “The main point for us is that we need to ensure data integrity and we have a very comprehensive approach to do that.”

To achieve complete openness, Loayza stated that the bank will disclose all information gathered from the private sector contributors as well as from surveys of business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs. This information would include raw data, scores, and the formulas used to arrive at the scores.

The bank will also make the equipment required by outsiders to duplicate the outcomes of the data analyses available.

But according to Loayza, World Bank officials were still debating whether to produce an overall index or revive the business climate rankings that were at the centre of the “Doing Business” controversy. A decision was anticipated before the release of the first report.

According to Loayza, despite criticism that the rankings encouraged political pressure to try to raise country scores, they also sparked approximately 4,000 regulatory improvements in both developing and developed economies over the previous 20 years.

He said that the new initiative, which is another effort to address criticism of the former product, focuses on 10 themes encompassing the lifecycle of a corporation, including business entrance, utility services, labour, dispute resolution, market competition, taxation, and insolvency.

“We take into account not only the perspective of the private entrepreneur, but also the perspective of workers, consumers and other market participants,” he said, citing the inclusion of factors such as worker safety, environmental sustainability and market competition.

A Business Ready Manual and Guide that details specific protocols and protections, including how the bank interacts with governments and lines of approval, as well as a methodological guidebook on its indicators and scoring methodology, were produced by the bank to set out the new approach.

(Adapted from

Categories: Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability

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