World Bank Group

Logo: World Bank Group
Logo: World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is the world’s largest provider of funding for sustainable development. Its primary goal is to fight extreme poverty and promote a just distribution of the world’s wealth. In doing so, it helps achieve international development goals.

The "World Bank Group" inscription on the main building of the World Bank in Washington

The World Bank was founded along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods (USA) in July 1944.

Both institutions are specialised agencies of the United Nations and are headquartered in Washington, DC. The Spring Meetings and Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF take place at the same time.

The US is the largest shareholder of the World Bank Group, with 16.3 per cent of the shares, and traditionally appoints the President.

The World Bank Group consists of five organisations:

  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD (External link))
    As the lead institution of the World Bank Group, IBRD provides loans to middle-income countries. Germany is IBRD’s fourth largest shareholder with a capital share of 4.6 per cent.
  • International Development Association (IDA (External link))
    IDA is the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. It provides low- to zero-interest loans and grants. The fund is replenished every three years. Germany is the fourth largest donor and contributed 1.9 billion US dollars to the current (early) replenishment round (IDA20).
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC (External link))⁠
    IFC supports private companies in developing countries. Germany is the third largest donor with a capital share of 5.5 per cent.
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA (External link))
    MIGA insures private-sector direct investment in developing countries by offering guarantees against political risks. Germany is the third largest donor with a capital share of 5.0 per cent.
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID (External link))
    ICSID is an independent body within the World Bank Group. It provides facilities for arbitration in investment disputes between governments and foreign investors. Germany has been a member of ICSID since it was founded in 1966.

The first two of the institutions mentioned here – IBRD and IDA – are collectively referred to as the “World Bank”.

The BMZ’s cooperation with the World Bank Group

Within the German government, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is responsible for the World Bank Group. German Development Minister Svenja Schulze is Germany’s Governor at the World Bank Group.

In addition to the Minister acting as one of the 25 members of the Board of Governors, Germany is also represented by an Executive Director on the Supervisory Board.

  • World Bank Spring Meeting

    First progress made towards a fundamental reform Internal link

    13 April 2023 | 

    At the World Bank Spring Meeting, broad support was expressed on Wednesday evening for ambitious steps towards a fundamental reform of the World Bank. The aim is for the Bank to be better able to support developing countries in their efforts to tackle global challenges like climate change.

    Participants at the World Bank Group Spring Meeting in Washington D.C.
  • Reform process

    Schulze and Yellen call for fundamental reform of the World Bank Internal link

    20 March 2023 | 

    Germany's Governor to the World Bank, Development Minister Svenja Schulze, today talked to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Schulze: “In order to successfully tackle global challenges such as the climate crisis, trillions of dollars in investments are needed – including in particular in developing countries and emerging economies. One key lever for this is a fundamental reform of the World Bank. Janet Yellen is an important ally in this endeavour.”

    Development Minister Svenja Schulze and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen exchanged views on World Bank reform in a video conference.

As at: 20/03/2023