EDITOR NOTE: The Economist is calling for the resignation of IMF president Kristalina Georgieva over the “Doing Business” report scandal from 2017. A recent investigation found that the annual report, produced by the World Bank where Georgieva was No. 2 in command at the time, was altered so that China didn’t fall in the rankings. The Economist piece does concede that her boss at the time, Jim Yong Kim, led the charge to fudge the report for China’s benefit but still believes Georgieva needs to go. Her role in this scandal is damaging to the reputation and trustworthiness of two major global institutions now, which is why the publication says she needs to “do her bit for multilateralism by falling on her sword.”
In 2003 the world bank launched a league table that assessed the ease of doing business in different countries around the world. By 2017 Li Keqiang, China’s prime minister, grumbled that his country was lagging behind its peers. At his urging, officials began freeing entrepreneurs from red tape—and crimson ink. They cut fees, streamlined approvals, and began to use electronic seals instead of the traditional ink stamp on many documents.
China’s progress illustrates the power of the bank’s Doing Business rankings. Leaders have used them to motivate and monitor regulatory reforms, and like to boast about their country’s progress. The imf cited the rankings last year in arguing for lending to Jordan. The data help guide investors. And they have informed 676 of the World Bank’s own projects (worth $15.5bn) in the past decade, according to an as-yet-unpublished internal evaluation.
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