8 May 2014

World Bank defends business rankings system

2:12 pm on 8 May 2014

The World Bank is defending its Doing Business rankings system, saying it does not encourage governments to legalise land grabs.

The Bank ranks developing countries on what it calls the ease of doing business, with a high score indicating a country's regulatory environment is conducive to business.

But as Amelia Langford reports, hundreds of groups worldwide, including in the Pacific, are calling for the system to be abolished.

"Critics of the system, such as the Pacific Network on Globalization, say the bank's ranking system encourages governments to put the interests of foreign investors ahead of local landowners. But the World Bank refutes that and says its Doing Business report focuses on domestic enterprises, not foreign investors and large companies. In a statement, it says it also shares concerns about the risks associated with large-scale land acquisitions. The Bank says it recognizes that secure access to land is critical for millions of poor people, with policies that are transparent and accountable and that it recognizes all forms of tenure, including customary land systems."