The World Bank's repeatedly changing methodology for 'Doing Business' has been misleading and unfair

The World Bank's chief economist has stated on Friday that the International financial institution was changing the methodology for Doing Business in a way that affected the performances of some countries. The famous report was in the heart of a diplomatic crisis that erupted in October between Morocco and Algeria. Details

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The World Bank has been changing the methodology for one of its primordial reports in a way that is «unfair and misleading», said the Wall Street Journal on Friday, 12th of January, in one of its articles. Accordingly, the World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told the American business-focused daily newspaper that he «would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the report called 'Doing Business' going back at least four years.»

For the economist, Doing Business, a survey that provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational level, was conducted in a way that changed the results of some countries. Romer was referring, according to Wall Street Journal, to Chile whose business attractiveness was affected negatively by the changes that were attributed to the report's methodology.

Speaking to the same source, Romer expressed his apologies to Chile and other countries unfairly affected by these changes insisting that the problems with the report were «my fault because we did not make things clear enough». Meanwhile, the World Bank Group issued a statement on Saturday indicating that : «We treat all countries equally in our research, and the Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed with no single country in mind but so that the overall business climate can be improved.»

A diplomatic crisis in North Africa

On the other hand, Morocco is one of the 190 countries examined by the World Bank's business attractiveness survey. In 2017, the North African Kingdom was ranked 68th by Doing Business, ahead of Algeria, first in North Africa, Third in the African continent and fourth in the Arab world. In October, the results of the report caused tension in the region when the Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, claimed in a conference that «for Doing Business, today in North Africa, there is only Algeria. Neither Egypt, nor Libya, or Tunisia, or Morocco».

The senior official continued accusing Moroccan banks of money laundering and the Moroccan national carrier of transportig drugs. His accusations and wrong interpretation of the World Bank's report have led to a diplomatic crisis that lasted for a couple of weeks between the two neighbouring nations.

For the record, Morocco was ranked 69th in the world by the 2018 edition of the same report. The Kingdom was estimated one of the most attractive countries in North Africa for doing business, performing better that Algeria which was positioned 166th in the world and 4th in the region.