Reasons for Suspending the Publication of the World Bank's Doing Business Report

Reasons for Suspending the Publication of the World Bank's Doing Business Report

Comments by Ayaz Museyibov

Head of the Department of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication


It is known that the World Bank has decided to completely stop publishing Doing Business reports. Earlier, in a press release issued on August 27, 2020, it was stated that the publication of the report was postponed, citing the falsification of the results. Guided by its high internal ethical values, the World Bank has conducted a systematic internal and external audits of the past five years with the involvement of an external audit firm (WilmerHale) to address errors in the report.

The researches has demonstrated that if the results in the World Bank report for 2020 were not falsified, China would not move 7 positions up and Saudi Arabia – 1 position up, as well as UAE would not rank the same and Azerbaijan would move 6 positions down.

Extract from the results of the audit

After correcting the irregularities following the audit results, Azerbaijan has moved 6 steps higher with its rating shifting from 34th to 28th position. 

It should be mentioned that prior to it, the world media had expressed opinions on biased attitude towards some countries in Doing Business reports. Currently, the world's leading media reports that during the diagnostic assessments, the bank's management gave instructions to increase the results in favor of some countries artificially. There are claims that the factors of increasing the investments to the organization affected the results of some countries.

Along with that, such leading print media agencies as Reuters and Kommersant mentioned that Doing Business reports did not considered the reforms carried out in Azerbaijan. Here, it should be emphasized that among 4 countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Azerbaijan), the results of which were not reflected in the report correctly, only Azerbaijan's indicators were artificially underestimated by some experts of the structure, and a number of reforms carried out were not reflected at all in the estimates.

Moreover, the World Bank announced that in the future it will conduct methodologies and assessments based on new approaches to assess the business and investment environment. Also, the World Bank expressed its commitment to the development of the investment and business environment in countries.