World Bank urges governments for more transparency

Agencies

Washington, May 11:

The World Bank called on governments yesterday to release more information about their economies, saying this would help to create a ‘sound investment climate’ in nations seeking foreign capital for commercial development.

The bank, in a new report covering 209 countries, said borrower and lender governments alike had made little progress in improving their transparency and release of key economic data. “In spite of a number of shining examples, the fact is that, on average, neither the rich nor the poor worlds have improved in their standards on governance over the past eight years,” said Daniel Kaufmann, report co-author and director of global governance at the World Bank Institute, the lending agency’s think tank, “This sobering reality ought to motivate collective action in the next stage.”

The report singled out African states for what it described as inaction on governance practices. It said that 38 out of 46 countries in the continent are both poorer than the world average and also exhibit worse governance than the world average. Botswana, however, stood out among a handful of countries that had achieved a ‘high quality of governance’, it said. Others in the select group included Chile, Slovenia and the Baltic nations.

The bank rated countries during the period 1996-2004 on the basis of political, civil and human rights; political instability and violence; market-unfriendly policies, and corruption controls. Its report, ‘Governance Matters IV: Updated Governance Indicators 1996-2004,’ said that improvements in the quality of rule of law in a given country could boost individual incomes by as much as 300 per cent in the long run.