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World Bank Cambodia will continue business surveys despite index ceasing

World Bank Cambodia will continue to provide regular updates on business performance despite its annual ‘Ease of doing business’ report ceasing following an external investigation of apparent “data irregularities” in the rankings.

Maryam Salim, Country Manager for Cambodia told Cambodia Investment Review, in an online call, the development bank would continue producing surveys for Cambodia’s public and private sectors.

Business progression reports would include the ‘enterprise and business pulse survey’, she said.

“Despite the World Bank stopping the annual report the Cambodia office will continue to produce and release measureable reports on Cambodian business development, Salim said.

The World Bank appointed Maryam Salim as its new Country Manager for Cambodia this year. She succeeded Inguna Dobraja, who has moved to Moldova after five years of heading the World Bank office in Phnom Penh.

“The World Bank Cambodia understand these reports are important for dialogue between many business chambers and local policy makers,” Salim added.

For almost 20 years the index was considered the flagship ranking of countries across the globe and regularly used by Cambodia’s business chambers to advocate to policymakers.

Some analyst have argued that policymakers – especially in emerging economies – were ‘gaming’ the system to show rapid improvements in index ranking in lieu of implementing large structural changes.

In the 2020 report Cambodia was ranked overall 144 out of 190 countries for ‘ease of doing business’ while ranking 187 for ‘starting a business’ and 182 for ‘enforcing contracts’.

Last year the Cambodian government launched a single window, online business registration platform as a way to improve access to the formal economy for business owners.

Anthony Galliano, President of American Chamber of Commerce told Cambodia Investment Review that market surveys provide key insights and information which are shared with our primary audiences and greatly underpin our advocacy efforts.

“The data usually pinpoints market opportunities as well, and survey information is an extremely useful tool for forecasts and budgets,” Galliano said.

“In line with AmCham beefing up its resources to support and increase engagement, our new Membership Engagement Officer will conduct more in-depth and sector specific surveys, adding increased value to the membership,” he added.

World Bank Cambodia operates day-to-day business with the government and development partners, including a $1.1 billion portfolio of projects implemented by government agencies with funding and technical support.

The World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework for Cambodia for 2019-2023 focuses on mainly improving the efficiency of the public sector and promoting private sector development.

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