By Murimi Gitari, May 1, 2023, The World Bank Group has begun work to assess the business and investment climate in up to 180 economies under its flagship Business Ready project—a key instrument of its new strategy to facilitate private investment, generate employment, and improve productivity to help countries accelerate development in inclusive and sustainable ways.
Business Ready improves upon and replaces the World Bank Group’s earlier Doing Business project. It reflects a more balanced and transparent approach toward evaluating a country’s business and investment climate—one that has been shaped by recommendations from experts from within and outside the World Bank Group, including governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations. The first annual Business Ready report, covering 54 economies, will be published in the Spring of 2024.
Today, the World Bank Group published two key documents: the Business Ready Manual and Guide, specifying the detailed protocols and safeguards it has put in place to ensure the integrity of the assessments; and the Business Ready Methodology Handbook, detailing the project’s indicators and scoring methodology. Data collection on the business environment of the initial 54 economies is being done through extensive consultations with regulatory experts and nationally representative World Bank Enterprise Surveys, collected by competitively selected survey companies.
“The World Bank Group is bringing back a fuller and sharper measure of the investment climate of countries—something that is badly needed in a global economy in the midst of a generalized slowdown,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank Group’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics. “Governments that do more to make their economies business-ready will do better in reviving private investment, creating jobs, and quickening the transition to cleaner energy.”
The World Bank Group has long been a leader in spurring business-regulatory reforms across the world. Its assessments of the business-enabling environment worldwide helped spur nearly 4,000 regulatory reforms in developing and developed economies over the past two decades. They also significantly advanced academic research in this area, resulting in 4,000 peer-reviewed research papers and at least 10,000 working papers. Countries, moreover, often use these assessments to shape their development strategies.
“The ‘Business Ready’ project represents a new approach to assessing the business and investment climates,” said Norman Loayza, Director of the World Bank’s Indicators Group, which leads the project. “The ‘Business Ready’ approach aims to establish a better balance between the ease of conducting a business and the broader implications for society as a whole. It gives a more positive role for governments, advocating for better public services for businesses. In addition to experts’ assessments, it includes direct information from entrepreneurs and managers on their experience navigating the economy’s business environment.”
Business Ready focuses on 10 topics covering the lifecycle of a firm in the course of starting, operating, or closing or reorganizing its activities: Business Entry, Business Location, Utility Services, Labor, Financial Services, International Trade, Taxation, Dispute Resolution, Market Competition, and Business Insolvency. Over the next three years, the project will grow to cover about 180 economies worldwide annually, starting with 54 economies in 2023-24, 120 economies in 2024-25, and reaching 180 economies in 2025-26.
The project’s objective is reflected in its name—to make each country’s economic environment ready for a dynamic private sector. The name highlights the fact that economies exist in different stages of readiness, and that governments play a key role in creating a business environment that is conducive for sustainable development.
Transparency will be a key feature of Business Ready’s safeguards for data integrity. All information collected by the project—raw granular data, scores, as well as the calculations used to obtain the scores—will be made publicly available on the project website. Moreover, all results presented in the reports will be replicable using straightforward toolkits available on the website.