Investment climate reform should not be beauty parade, CSOs say (July 2012)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Thu, Jul 5, 2012

In a letter addressed to Executive Directors and staff of the World Bank, a number of civil society organizations formulate demands on the World Bank Doing Business indicators.

The Doing Business indicators are a set of guidelines for governments setting up their investment climate.


They cover a variety of topics that are potentially useful to help start a broad debate in developing countries in order to identify necessary reforms and reduce the administrative burdens for businesses.


However, rather than fostering broad-based economic development, following the checklist of reforms that make up the doing business rankings can be harmful to countries for four main reasons, outlined in the letter. 


Further, in practice the act of scoring and ranking countries against each other can also distort and inhibit the important debate surrounding how a country should regulate its economy and promote an enabling environment that works for all.


Signatories of this letter are calling on the World Bank to:

§  stop ranking countries against an inappropriate check-list of  reforms;

§  work with other relevant institutions to examine which reforms work best in practice and to develop more balanced tools and advice in these areas;

§  stop promoting the rankings in the media and in countries, which creates pressure on governments and stymies debates;

§  and instead promote a broader dialogue on appropriate context-specific reforms at a national level.