Kamis, 16 September 2021

IMF chief denies altering World Bank report to appease China -

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva disagreed with an investigation showing she pushed for changes to a World Bank report to favor China

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday disputed an independent investigation which found that in her previous job at the World Bank, she pressed staff to alter a report to avoid angering China.

Based on the findings, the World Bank announced that it was immediately discontinuing its Doing Business report after the investigation found irregularities in the 2018 and 2020 editions.

"I disagree fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of the Investigation of Data Irregularities as it relates to my role in the World Bank's Doing Business report of 2018," she said in a statement.

"These are serious findings," the US Treasury said in a statement, noting that it is "analyzing the report." 

Georgieva said she briefed the IMF board on the situation. The board is expected to meet to discuss the issue but it is unclear when.

"The IMF is in charge of monitoring the integrity of macroeconomic and financial data internationally, and for the head of the IMF to have been involved in data manipulation is pretty damning allegation," he told AFP. "That does seem like a real hit on on their credibility."

The flagship report ranks countries based on their business regulations and economic reforms, and has caused governments to jockey for a higher spot to attract investors.

The Washington-based development lender's staff was preparing the 2018 edition while leadership engaged in sensitive negotiations to increase its lending capital, which hinged on an agreement with China and the United States.

Kim discussed the rankings with senior Chinese officials who were dismayed by the country's ranking, and his aides raised the issue of how to improve it, according to the summary of the probe, released by the World Bank.

The bargain required support from the US president at the time Donald Trump, who opposed concessional lending to China, and from Beijing, which agreed to pay more for loans.

- 'For multilateralism' -

After the changes were made, she thanked him for "doing his part for multilateralism."

Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize winner who served as the World Bank's chief economist at the time, resigned in January 2018 after telling a reporter that the methodology for the ranking had been changed in a way that could give the impression political considerations affected the results.

The investigation also found "improper changes" in the 2020 report affecting the rankings of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.



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2021-09-17 00:13:33Z

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