Top representatives of global employers met with World Bank President Robert Zoellick and other bank officials on February 15 in Washington, D.C. to voice support for the bank’s annual “Doing Business” reports, which assess and rank countries based on how easy they make it to run a business, and to explore areas for future cooperation.
The delegation from the International Organization of Employers (IOE), part of USCIB’s global network and the voice of business in the International Labor Organization, was led by IOE President Abraham Katz, who also serves as president emeritus of USCIB. It included Antonio Peñalosa, secretary general of the IOE, Ashraf Tabani, president of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, and Ronnie Goldberg, executive vice president of USCIB, among others.
The meeting aimed at outlining the IOE’s views on – and support for – the Doing Business report, discussing how the World Bank should integrate and present employment and labor issues in future reports, and exploring areas for immediate as well as future cooperation between the IOE and the World Bank. Joining Mr. Zoellick from the World Bank’s side were Michael Klein, vice president for financial and private sector development, and Simeon Djankov, who leads the team developing the Doing Business reports, along with several team members.
Mr. Katz expressed the IOE’s strong support for the Doing Business reports and highlighted their importance as a tool for labor market reforms and structural adjustment. He stressed the interest of national employers’ organizations in the report as a means of promoting reform in their own countries. IOE delegation members also provided detailed comments on the relationship between the report’s labor indicators and pertinent ILO conventions.
On future areas of cooperation between the IOE and the World Bank, consideration was given to increasing IFC work with national employers’ organizations in the collection of data for yearly Doing Business reports. Building on the success of last September’s launch of the 2008 report at a USCIB forum in New York, participants discussed organizing regional launches with IOE members in major regional hubs.
Areas identified for possible for future collaboration included vocational training and skills development, occupational safety and health, the informal economy, sustainable enterprise, youth employment, SME development, productivity and women’s entrepreneurship. Participants also discussed holding annual top-level meetings between the IOE and the World Bank.