JUNE 15 2021 (The Bulletin) — The World Bank called out the Turkmen government for publishing misleading economic data and dropped its global economic outlook report.
This is the second time that the World Bank has dropped Turkmenistan from its bi-annual Global Economic Prospects report, and its damaging assessment of the quality of Turkmen data will reinforce Turkmenistan’s reputation as a difficult place to do business.
The only other country excluded from the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report, published this month, was Venezuela.
“Due to lack of reliable data of adequate quality, the World Bank is currently not publishing economic output, income, or growth data for Turkmenistan and República Bolivariana de Venezuela,” it wrote in a footnote. “Turkmenistan and República Bolivariana de Venezuela are excluded from cross-country macroeconomic aggregates.”
The footnote is identical to one included in the January edition of the report.
Turkmen opposition groups have said the country is suffering an economic crisis, with inflation spiralling out of control and food queues lengthening. Not that you would realise this from the official data which paints a rosy picture.
In 2020, though, the IMF refused to include Turkmenistan in its Growth Outlook report because of poor data quality. Most economists have also predicted Turkmen GDP growth to be around 1% this year, compared to a Turkmen government estimate of 5.9%.
— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021
— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021