World Bank

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to World Bank: IMF

World Bank

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly referred to as the World Bank, is an international financial institution whose purposes include assisting the development of its member nations' territories, promoting and supplementing private foreign investment, and promoting long-range balanced growth in international trade.

The World Bank was established in July 1944 at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. It opened for business in June 1946 and helped in the reconstruction of nations devastated by World War II. Since the 1960s the World Bank has shifted its focus from the advanced industrialized nations to developing third-world countries.The World Bank consists of a number of separate institutions. The three major institutions are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, the bank's most important component, lends funds directly, guarantees loans made by others, or participates in these loans. The IDA, which was established in 1960, lends to low-income countries on more favorable terms, charging a small service fee but no interest. It gets its funds from more affluent member countries. The IFC, established in 1956, provides loans to private business in developing countries.

Twenty-nine nations joined the World Bank in 1945. By 1996 the bank had 180 members. The bank is governed by an executive board and a managing director. Voting in the bank is weighted according to the initial contributions to the bank's capital, which historically has given the U.S. government a dominant voice in the bank's affairs.

In 1996 almost one-third of the bank's loans went to the world's poorest countries. However, the bank has moved away from financing large-scale infrastructure projects, such as roads, railways, and power facilities. Since the 1970s, the bank has provided an increasing number of loans to developing countries for agricultural, educational, and population programs. The goals of these loan programs have been to raise the standard of living and to increase self-sufficiency.

The World Bank also offers advisory services to countries seeking to reform their banking and finance systems. It has also launched InfoDev, an initiative to secure resources from corporations, foundations, and governments to promote reform and investment in the developing world through improved access to information technology.

In the late 1990s several coalitions of organizations and individuals formed Jubilee 2000 to campaign for debt-forgiveness for poor countries that found themselves unable to pay back the bank's loans. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund responded by establishing the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) that sought to provide relief for the world's most heavily indebted countries. In April 2000 World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn stated that he welcomed Jubilee 2000 and continuing public involvement for their contributions toward getting creditor countries to support the HIPC.

Further readings

Howarth, David, and Peter Loedel. 2003. The European Central Bank: The New European Leviathan? New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Smith, Roy C., and Ingo Walter, eds. 2003. Global Banking. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

World Bank Website. Available online at <> (accessed August 17, 2003).


International Monetary Fund.

References in periodicals archive ?
The project has not been dropped, it is under preparation and further steps will be informed by the macroeconomic situation,' said the World Bank spokesperson.
In December, the World Bank raised its 2017 growth forecast to 6.
Economic experts are according top priority to the visit of World Bank delegation.
Hafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa, said there is consensus in the World Bank that the organization should help Lebanon overcome problems linked to the refugee crisis.
They also discussed the steps implemented to develop the public financial systems, as well as the measures that should be taken to facilitate and expedite the implementation of the articles of cooperation between the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.
World Bank green bonds support the financing by the World Bank of projects in its member countries that meet specific criteria for low carbon development.
The World Bank announced last July that it was placing Iran's loans in non-performing status, as it must do when a country has not made any payments for more than half a year.
Kazakhstan joined the World Bank Group in July 1992.
World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa(MENA)IngerAndersenleft CairoThursday,after arrivingWednesdayfrom Yemen, reaffirming during the visit the World Bank's "support to different deprived sectors of the Egyptian economy".
Mamta Murthi, made a two day visit to Bulgaria to take stock of the 20+ years of partnership between the country and the World Bank Group.
Summary: WASHINGTON -- The World Bank announced that it plans to select its next president by the time of its spring meetings in late April.
WASHINGTON, January 29, 2012 (WAFA) - Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank Group, starts Monday a three-day visit to the Palestinian Territory and Israel to discuss development issues, a World Bank press release said Sunday.

Full browser ?