World Bank to discuss in October replacement for ‘Doing Business’ reports

FILE PHOTO: A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund - World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The World Bank’s board will discuss plans next month for replacing the bank’s flagship “Doing Business” rankings that were canceled in September 2021 after an external report found data irregularities, World Bank President David Malpass said.

Malpass told an event hosted by Stanford University on Wednesday there were still issues to define how to assess a country’s business climate, but the bank and its various arms, including the International Finance Corp, were all working to continue encouraging private sector activity.

“The World Bank is very involved in trying to encourage private sector development in countries,” he said.

The World Bank in February said it is working on a new approach, tentatively dubbed the “Business Enabling Environment” project, that will help countries improve their business environment and attract more investment.

The bank scrapped the annual “Doing Business” rankings one year ago, saying internal audits and an external investigation had raised “ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials, as well as current and/or former Bank staff.”

The bank’s new chief economist, Indermit Gill, told reporters earlier this month that the bank was listening to its constituents about how to replace the previous ranking system, and declined to forecast when the new product would be released.

“We’ll do it very deliberately, and we’ll get it right,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Stephen Coates)