The World Bank - Two Institutions, One Mission
The World Bank is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The Bank comprise two institutions managed by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses exclusively on the world’s poorest countries. These institutions are part of a larger body known as the World Bank Group.
These institutions are part of a larger body known as the World Bank Group. The World Bank Group consists of five organizations:
- The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries.
- The International Development Association (IDA) provides interest-free loans—called credits— and grants to governments of the poorest countries.
- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides loans, equity and technical assistance to stimulate private sector investment in developing countries.
- The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) provides guarantees against losses caused by non-commercial risks to investors in developing countries.
- The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) provides international facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes.
Established in 1944, the World Bank is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Bank has more than 9,000 employees in more than 100 offices worldwide.
Six strategic themes drive the Bank’s work, focusing on the poorest countries, fragile and conflict-affected states, the Arab world, middle-income countries, global public goods issues, and delivery of knowledge and learning services. There are also strategies for the key areas in which the Bank works:
- Thematic and sector strategies, which guide our work to reduce poverty in a specific sector or aspect of development. Each derives from a broad consultation with a wide array of stakeholders.
- Country assistance strategies, which identify the key areas in which we can best support a country in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.
Financial Products and Services
The World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credits, and grants to developing countries. These support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some of our projects are cofinanced with governments, other multilateral institutions, commercial banks, export credit agencies, and private sector investors.
The Bank also provides or facilitates financing through trust fund partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors. Many partners have asked the Bank to help manage initiatives that address needs across a wide range of sectors and developing regions.
Innovative Knowledge Sharing
The Bank offers support to developing countries through policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance. Our analytical work often underpins World Bank financing and helps inform developing countries’ own investments. In addition, we support capacity development in the countries we serve. The World Bank also sponsors, hosts, or participates in many conferences and forums on issues of development, often in collaboration with partners.
To ensure that countries can access the best global expertise and help generate cutting-edge knowledge, the Bank is constantly seeking to improve the way it shares its knowledge and engages with clients and the public at large.