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World Bank to share more data to attract private investors to developing countries

The World Governments Summit takes place in Dubai

By Andrea Shalal

(Reuters) - The World Bank will publish more of its proprietary data, including on debt defaults, starting next week as part of a push to attract more private sector investment to developing countries, World Bank President Ajay Banga said.

Banga, speaking at the China Development Forum early Sunday, China time, said the World Bank Group had mobilized $41 billion of private capital for emerging markets and raised another $42 billion from the private sector for bond issuance last year, with both totals to be eclipsed this year.

But he said more progress was needed, and the bank was taking action on a number of fronts to overcome barriers holding back private sector investment to developing economies.

Economic growth has slowed in developing countries, with growth falling to barely 4% from 6% in two decades, Banga said, noting that each lost percentage point dragged 100 million people into poverty, while debt levels were rising.

Banga noted that developing countries also faced an "unimaginable" gap between 1.1 billion young people expected to enter the workforce in the next decade and expected job creation of just 325 million jobs.

To better understand the issues, the bank convened a focus group with 15 chief executives of asset management companies, banks and operators who identified concerns such as regulatory certainty, political risk insurance and foreign exchange risk, he said.

The bank last month already announced reforms that will consolidate its loan and investment guarantee structure and triple its annual guarantees to $20 billion by 2030.

Starting next week, Banga said, the bank and a consortium of development institutions would also start publishing private sector recovery data by county income level, as a step to inspire investor confidence.

The World Bank would also publish private sector default data broken down by credit rating, as well as sovereign default and recovery rate statistics dating back to 1985, he said.

"All this work contributes to one goal: getting more private sector capital into developing economies to drive impact and create jobs," Banga said.

The former Mastercard CEO said the bank was also working on a longer-term effort to build a securitization platform that will make it easier for pension funds and other institutional investors to bring their $70 trillion to emerging markets.

Bundling large standardized investments in one package would encourage meaningful investment at scale, overcoming the current patchwork of small, bespoke loans that each had their own documents, risk and pricing, he said.

China's "remarkable journey" in the past five decades was a testament to what is possible, Banga said, noting China had created hundreds of millions of jobs, sharply reduced poverty and cut emissions. Once a major World Bank borrower, China is now one of the bank's biggest donors, he added.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alistair Bell)