| WASHINGTON, June 7
WASHINGTON, June 7 The World Bank on Friday said
it intends to keep ranking nations on the ease of conducting
business, despite criticism from countries like China that feel
the scorecard unfairly stigmatizes fast-growing developing
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Bank is committed
to keeping its flagship "Doing Business" report, including the
rating, which compares the ease of starting and conducting a
business in 185 countries.
The decision to keep the rankings was seen as a test case
for Kim, at the helm of the global development lender for nearly
a year, on how he will balance competing priorities from World
Bank board members.
"The World Bank Group's work on business climate
development, including the Doing Business report, is core to our
mission of ending poverty, and in fact we expect it to grow,"
Kim said in a statement. "I am committed to the Doing Business
report, and rankings have been part of its success."
The report is prepared by the bank and its private-sector
lending arm, the International Finance Corporation. It has
become one of the bank's most popular publications since it
began in 2003.
Smaller developing countries often use the report to show
outside investors how much they've improved their business
environment. Government officials may use it as an incentive to
promote business-friendly legal changes, such as eliminating red
"We believe that the Doing Business country rankings serve
as an important benchmarking tool at a time when all of us are
focused on supporting demand and job creation," a U.S. Treasury
official said in a statement. The United States, which is ranked
number four, has said it supports the report and its ratings.
Others have criticized the report's methodology and said it
has a bias against all regulations, including protections for
According to several sources, China pushed especially hard
for modifying the report and getting rid of the ratings system,
arguing the World Bank should not rank its members.
China was ranked number 91 in the most recent report,
prompting suspicions that its opposition was motivated by the
China's executive board director, Shaolin Yang, could not be
reached for comment on Kim's decision on Friday afternoon.
"Going forward, I will be pushing World Bank Group staff to
focus their efforts on improving all aspects of Doing Business,
including its data, methodology, and rankings," Kim said.
Shortly after coming to the World Bank last July, Kim
appointed an independent panel to review the report and make
recommendations about its future. The World Bank's board
discussed the panel's findings on Friday, and they will be
released publicly in coming weeks.
Scott Morris, a former U.S. Treasury official, said Kim was
motivated to appoint the panel because several board members
were very critical of the report last summer and wanted it
Morris, now a visiting fellow with the Center for Global
Development in Washington, said some countries were
uncomfortable with the transparency of the ranking system,
posing a dilemma for the World Bank on its role and whether it
should rank its members.