IMF boss accused of favoring China in a ranking

Several former World Bank executives, including the current boss of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva, have pressured their teams to manipulate the data of an annual ranking and thus give in to pressure from China, according to a audit commissioned by the Washington-based institution and published Thursday, September 15.

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The WilmerHale law firm went through some 80,000 documents and gathered the testimonies of some 40 employees to reach these conclusions, disputed by Georgieva, and which led the World Bank to announce in the wake of stopping the publication of its “Doing Business” report. This ranking, widely followed by investors, measured the business climate by combining more or less subjective criteria such as the cost of a building permit or the number of days required to set up a business.

Boost performance

According to the survey conducted by the WilmerHale cabinet, China informed several senior World Bank officials in May 2017 that its ranking – placing it at 78e rank – did not sufficiently take into account its economic reforms. At the same time, that is to say between mid-2017 and June 2018, the institution was in a delicate situation. She had to carry out “Sensitive negotiations on the increase in its capital”, can we read in the audit report, whereas a “key player”, which one guesses to be the United States led by Donald Trump, wanted to withdraw from the financial institution, forcing the other shareholders to increase their contributions. China is the third largest shareholder of the World Bank, behind the United States and Japan.

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Over the months, while the new ranking was expected for October 31, 2017, the pressure has continued to mount on the institution. When the office of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim learns on October 11 that China is on the verge of losing 7 places in the rankings, an adviser worries that it will not “Not doing well” with a person in charge of the studies and research department and asks him to think about a solution. A few days later, a first track is considered: integrating the data of Hong Kong and Macao with those of China to boost its performance.

In order not to distort the overall ranking, there are ultimately three indicators of China that have been slightly improved so that it maintains its rank.

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