Civil society reacts to 2014 World Bank Doing Business report

2 December 2013

Despite controversy and a promise of reform (see Observer Autumn 2013), October saw the publication of the World Bank’s 11th Doing Business report (DBR) which ranks countries on the ease of doing business. This year’s edition ranked Singapore as top for the eighth straight year, with Ukraine having made most progress over the past year. Following from the earlier independent review of DBR (see Update 86), a briefing paper endorsed by 15 organisations, including UK NGO CAFOD, called for the Bank to take forward the reforms proposed in the review. Recommendations included the need “to transparently review the relevance of the current indicators to the poverty eradication and inclusive growth objectives of the Bank” and the employment of an external review panel to improve governance. Furthermore the briefing recommended the removal of indicators relating to taxation and labour regulation due to the “several conceptual and methodological problems.” While the review panel’s report has moved to the chief economist’s office it is not clear how or which reforms will be implemented. The civil society groups noted that “all final decisions on ways forward remain subject to undefined decision making processes at the World Bank” and stressed that decisions should be “made in an open and inclusive manner.”