By Andrés Oppenheimer
The scandal swirling around Kristalina Georgieva — International Monetary Fund chief — for her alleged wrongdoings during her tenure as World Bank director is making headlines around the world. But there is a related scandal that is much more consequential, and that deserves much more attention.
I’m referring to the World Bank’s cowardly decision to discontinue its annual “Doing Business” report, which ranked 190 countries according to their respective bureaucratic hurdles to doing business. It was by far the World Bank’s most important annual report, because it named and shamed the world champions of red tape. It would embarrass governments and press them to ease their regulatory burdens. It had long been under attack by the United States, France and other countries that didn’t rank as well as they wanted. China, too, had criticized it.
The report’s cancellation will be a huge blow to Latin America’s efforts to fight not only red tape, but corruption, too. Experts long have concluded that the more red tape a country has, the more opportunities there are for corrupt officials to demand bribes.