Watching the World Bank must become easier


Especially because now it IS much easier.

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A couple of months ago, an external review found serious data manipulation problems in the “Doing Business” rankings of the World Bank, and recommended an overall of the whole procedure and management process of thoose reports, in order to limit countries’ efforts to “manipulate their scores”. The authors of the report also warned about conflicts of interest, saying that “The World Bank should not simultaneously engage in scoring countries’ business environment while accepting payment to coach countries on how to improve their scores”.

Much more details about what was “manipulated”, by whom, and how to fix those issues are here and here.

The authors of that report said that “The World Bank needs an introspection. It has been advocating country reforms for better governance, transparency, and practices. Now it has to use the prescription for its own reform”.

Sure, but who will watch the World Bank own’s watchmen who will apply those prescriptions?

If watching the Watchmen can be easier, it MUST be easier

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In a way, this whole story is not news at all. “Who watches the Watchmen” has been a problem since the beginning of history, maybe THE beginning of history. Me, I have no skills to evaluate the whole story, figure out if that report is wrong, or if its solutions are the best possible ones.

Still, there is one point here that really is of very general interest, and very easy to grasp:

the digitization of data has made it immensely easier to distribute them to all the real experts with the actual skills and knowledge to figure out if something is done properly or not.

In this case, I have no idea of which specific data the World Bank should make accessible to the general public, or even to experts. The only thing I am sure of, and the only thing that everybody should demand, is that such data should become immediately, constantly, automatically available to all the experts who could evaluate them, not just those chosen by the World Bank.

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