Eurodad reaction to the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’ scandal: Fundamental reform of the Bank “urgent”


In light of the growing scandal around the World Bank's Doing Business report, Eurodad has issued the following reaction.

Yesterday (Monday 20 September) the World Bank (WB) released an external review which sheds more light on the deeply flawed methodology surrounding its flagship Doing Business Report (DBR), which encouraged a biased notion of private sector development. The report also raises serious concerns about the governance of the Bank, of which the DBR is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. This includes conflicts of interest in the WB advisory service, which accepted payment to coach countries on how to improve their scores.

The review panel was assembled by the WB in December 2020, after a series of internal audits revealed data irregularities leading to the temporary suspension of the report in August 2020.

The 84-page review, was sent to WB officials on 1 September. It has been published less than one week after a report by law firm WilmerHale identified shocking data manipulation, including by WB senior management, which pushed China and Saudi Arabia up the DBR’s rankings system. The WilmerHale investigation threw up questions on the integrity of the institution and its leadership.

Chiara Mariotti, Senior Policy Officer at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said: “Time and again civil society organisations – including Eurodad - have called for an end to the Doing Business report. The competition fuelled by its rankings system led to harmful deregulation, undermined tax systems and was detrimental to workers’ rights.

“While the WBG announced last week that it would discontinue the Doing Business Report, a decision that Eurodad – and others – have celebrated, this is a scandal that undermines the integrity of WB research and its advisory service, exposing more fundamental problems that will not cease with this 'damage control' announcement.

“Both the WilmerHale report and this latest report of the external panel review – which the Bank appears to have sat on for three weeks – confirms many of our worst fears. Root and branch reform, including fundamental and structural measures which go right to the top, have to be urgently taken for the World Bank Group to retain its integrity and credibility as a lead player in the development field.


Media contact: Julia Ravenscroft, Communications Manager, Eurodad: +44 7958 184695 / [email protected]