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Five Agencies, One Group

The World Bank Group consists of five closely associated institutions, all owned by member countries that carry ultimate decision-making power. As explained below, each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. The term "World Bank Group" encompasses all five institutions. The term "World Bank" refers specifically to two of the five, IBRD and IDA.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Established 1945 184 Members
Cumulative lending: $394 billion
Fiscal 2004 lending: $11 billion for 87 new operations in 33 countries

IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees, and (nonlending) analytical and advisory services. The income that IBRD has generated over the years has allowed it to fund several developmental activities and to ensure its financial strength, which enables it to borrow in capital markets at low cost and offer clients good borrowing terms. IBRD’s 24-member Board is made up of 5 appointed and 19 elected Executive Directors, who represent its 184 member countries.

The International Development Association
Established 1960 165 Members
Cumulative commitments: $151 billion
Fiscal 2004 commitments: $9 billion for 158 new operations in 62 countries

Contributions to IDA enable the World Bank to provide approximately $6 billion to $9 billion a year in highly concessional financing to the world’s 81 poorest countries (home to 2.5 billion people). IDA’s interest-free credits and grants are vital because these countries have little or no capacity to borrow on market terms. In most of these countries, the great majority of people live on less than $2 a day. IDA’s resources help support country-led poverty reduction strategies in key policy areas, including raising productivity, providing accountable governance, improving the private investment climate, and improving access to education and health care for poor people.

The International Finance Corporation
Established 1956 176 Members
Committed portfolio: $23.5 billion (includes $5.5 billion in syndicated loans)
Fiscal 2004 commitments: $4.8 billion for 217 projects in 65 countries

IFC promotes economic development through the private sector. Working with business partners, it invests in sustainable private enterprises in developing countries without accepting government guarantees. It provides equity, long-term loans, structured finance and risk management products, and advisory services to its clients. IFC seeks to reach businesses in regions and countries that have limited access to capital. It provides finance in markets deemed too risky by commercial investors in the absence of IFC participation and adds value to the projects it finances through its corporate governance, environmental, and social expertise.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Established 1988 164 Members
Cumulative guarantees issued: $13.5 billion (Amounts include funds leveraged through the Cooperative Underwriting Program)
Fiscal 2004 guarantees issued: $1.1 billion

MIGA helps promote foreign direct investment in developing countries by providing guarantees to investors against noncommercial risks, such as expropriation, currency inconvertibility and transfer restrictions, war and civil disturbance, and breach of contract. MIGA’s capacity to serve as an objective intermediary and to influence the resolution of potential disputes enhances investors’ confidence that they will be protected against these risks. In addition, MIGA provides technical assistance and advisory services to help countries attract and retain foreign investment and to disseminate information on investment opportunities to the international business community.

ICSID The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
Established 1966 140 Members
Total cases registered: 159
Fiscal 2004 cases registered: 30

ICSID helps encourage foreign investment by providing international facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes, thereby helping foster an atmosphere of mutual confidence between states and foreign investors. Many international agreements concerning investment refer to ICSID’s arbitration facilities. ICSID also issues publications on dispute settlement and foreign investment law.


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