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Updated on: Friday, September 17, 2021, 02:28 PM IST

Was World Bank's 'Doing Business' report altered to avoid angering China? Here is what IMF chief says

Photo: Kristalina Georgieva/Facebook |

Photo: Kristalina Georgieva/Facebook |

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The World Bank on Thursday announced that it was immediately discontinuing its 'Doing Business' report after an investigation flagged irregularities in the 2018 and 2020 editions. Pausing the reports, the group has now initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. Kristalina Georgieva, the current managing director of the International Monetary Fund and the then-chief executive officer of the World Bank however has refuted the allegations.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday disputed an independent investigation which found that in her previous job at the World Bank, she pressed staff to alter a report to avoid angering China.

"In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms," read a press note published on the World Bank website.

As per the allegations, data changes were made for China in 2018 and for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Azerbaijan in 2020. The World Bank has now released a copy of the independent external review conducted into the matter. According to the report the changes to China's data in Doing Business 2018 appears to be the product of two distinct types of pressure applied by Bank leadership on the research team.

The report suggested that direct and indirect pressure was applied to change the data for China in the Doing Business 2018 report. One of these, it said, was "pressure applied by CEO Georgieva and her advisor, Mr. Djankov, to make specific changes to China's data points in an effort to increase its ranking at precisely the same time the country was expected to play a key role in the Bank's capital increase campaign".

Georgieva however has issued a statement countering the investigation report, contending that she disagreed fundamentally with its findings and interpretations. "I disagree fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of the Investigation of Data Irregularities as it relates to my role in the World Bank's Doing Business report of 2018," she said in a statement.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published on: Friday, September 17, 2021, 02:28 PM IST
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