The World Bank
The World Bank


The World Bank is the name that has come to be used for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) founded at Bretton Woods. As the World Bank expanded beyond its initial scope and purpose of rebuilding Europe after the Second World War, the World Bank grew through the creation of four additional organizations. Together, these five financial organizations comprise the World Bank Group, namely the IBRD, the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The IBRD and the IDA focus mainly on public sector monetary policy and provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries. Additionally, they work to affect the policies of governments by providing macroeconomic policy advice, research, and technical advice. The remaining three institutions that belong to the World Bank Group focus more on private market interactions, providing funding, insurance, and dispute resolution for private sector projects. The sections below discuss each part of the World Bank Group in turn.


The governance of the World Bank is almost identical to that of the IMF. It is directed by a board of governors composed of one representative from each member country, and the governors direct the IBRD based on weighted voting rights that are determined by each country’s agreed annual contributions to the World Bank. As in the IMF, the United States is the largest contributor and has the most weighted voting power, though as a practical matter, decisions are made by consensus.

Twenty-four executive directors oversee the daily operations of the World Bank, including five permanent spots given to the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, and France. The remaining 19 directors are elected by all member-nations. The World Bank is led by its president, currently Dr. Jim Yong Kim, former President of Dartmouth College.

Vice presidents manage Bank affairs in six regions: Africa, East Asia; and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America;and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia;and in other functional units such as Finance, Poverty Reduction, Infrastructure, and Private Sector Development. The World Bank also operates a World Bank Institute for training of officials in development related topics.

For more information related to World Bank governance, please read:  A New World Bank Chief: An Opportunity for Reconciliation? 

Board of Governors: 1 representative/country. Weighed voting by annual contributions


Executive Board: 5 permanent members, 17 elected by member nations (representing groups of countries). Permanent members: U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. They oversee daily operations of the World Bank


President (by tradition from the U.S.)


Vice Presidents:
Regional: 1) Africa, 2) East Asia and Pacific, 3) Europe and Central Asia, 4) Middle East and North Africa, 5) Latin America and Caribbean, and 6) South Asia
Functional: 7) Finance, 8) Poverty Reduction, 9) Infrastructure, and 10)Private Sector Development

Next: The IBRD