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'Doing Business' Report Could Be Ditched

LONDON — An independent panel set up by the World Bank to look at the validity of one of its highest profile country rankings said Monday that the Bank should stop producing it because it might be misleading.

The Bank's annual "Doing Business" report judges 185 countries on 10 criteria and compiles an index on the ease of doing business, assigning each country a rank. The rankings can carry huge weight with governments.

President Vladimir Putin last year declared a policy objective of raising Russia's ranking to 20th by 2018 from the current 120th place.

But a panel initiated by the Bank's new president, Jim Yong Kim, found that the rankings could too easily be affected by small factors and were sometimes not objective.

"The panel believes the Bank should make a clean break with this practice," it said in a report. The panel was headed by South Africa's planning minister Trevor Manuel.

Singapore topped last year's rankings while Central African Republic was bottom.

According to several sources, China, which was ranked 91 in the most recent report, has pushed for getting rid of the ratings system, arguing that the World Bank should not rank its members.

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