World Bank Cancels Ease Doing Business Report after Data Irregularities

ADDIS ABABA –  The World Bank has discontinued its flagship Doing Business Report that rates the business environment of the world’s countries annually.

The Bank announced its decision on Thursday follwoing an internal review that raised data irregularities its two previous reports and ethical matters involving former bank staff and board officials.

The development lender says it will work on a new approach to assessing countries’ business and investment climates.

The “Doing Business” report has been the subject of an external investigation into the integrity of the report’s data. On Thursday, the bank issued a statement regarding the results of that probe.

The full statement reads,

“Trust in the research of the World Bank Group is vital. World Bank Group research informs the actions of policymakers, helps countries make better-informed decisions, and allows stakeholders to measure economic and social improvements more accurately. Such research has also been a valuable tool for the private sector, civil society, academia, journalists, and others, broadening understanding of global issues.

After data irregularities on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 were reported internally in June 2020, World Bank management paused the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms.  

After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. The World Bank Group remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this.

Going forward, we will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate. We are deeply grateful to the efforts of the many staff members who have worked diligently to advance the business climate agenda, and we look forward to harnessing their energies and abilities in new ways.”

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