World Bank Group

The World Bank was founded in July 1944 along with the In­ter­na­tional Monetary Fund (IMF) at the Monetary and Financial Conference of the founding members of the United Nations in Bretton Woods (USA). Like the IMF, it is a specialised agency of the United Nations.

Its original goal was to promote reconstruction in the wake of the Second World War and to create stable currencies in conjunction with the IMF. Since the 1960s, its main task has been to fight pov­er­ty in the world and to help support businesses in de­vel­op­ing and emerging coun­tries and promote these coun­tries' economic de­vel­op­ment. As the largest financer of de­vel­op­ment projects in the world and a provider of expertise it thus helps achieve in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment goals.

The World Bank Group consists of five organisations:

Generally, when we speak of the World Bank, we are actually referring only to the IBRD and the IDA.

Spectrum of activities of the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is based in Washington D.C. but it also has more than 120 coun­try offices. The World Bank employs more than 10,000 people, around one third of whom work in co­op­er­a­tion coun­tries. It is the largest financer of de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion projects. Loans are always tied to certain provisions to be met by the recipient coun­try.

The World Bank is involved in virtually every sector and in all de­vel­op­ing coun­tries – from micro-loans in Bosnia and Herzegovina to promoting education for girls in Bangladesh, from improving health care delivery in Mexico to reconstruction programmes following an earthquake in India. It is also working on the HIPC debt relief initiative and is involved in the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).

On the initiative of the G8 states it was decided in 2005 to cancel all remaining debts to the In­ter­na­tional Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank subsidiary IDA and the African De­vel­op­ment Fund (AfDF) of coun­tries qualifying for debt relief under the HIPC initiative, within the framework of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. The donor com­mu­ni­ty agreed to provide additional funds to offset the financial losses to these institutions.

In the fiscal year 2019 the World Bank announced commitments of 62.3 billion US dollars towards projects in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Orga­ni­sa­tion of the World Bank Group

The top-level decision-making body of the World Bank Group is the Board of Governors, to which every member appoints one Governor and one Alternate Governor. When decisions are taken, the voting rights of members are in proportion to their share of the capital of the bank.

The day-to-day business of the World Bank is pursued by the President and the 25 Executive Directors. The coun­tries holding the largest shares of the Bank's capital (the USA, Japan, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and France) each nominate an Executive Director. Further Executive Directors are elected by the voting groups to which the other members belong.

In 1974, the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the IMF agreed to set up a joint committee for the transfer of resources to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, the De­vel­op­ment Committee (DC). This Committee advises the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the IMF on key de­vel­op­ment issues.

The World Bank also works in de­vel­op­ment research and regards the provision of knowledge as being at the heart of its mission. Every year it publishes a World De­vel­op­ment Report on key issues in in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.

More information


The World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
Phone: +1 / 202 / 4 73 10 00
Fax: +1 / 202 / 4 77 63 91


External Links

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