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International Monetary Fund (IMF)

What is World Bank?

The World Bank is not a bank in the true sense but rather a special agency under the United Nations. The member countries of the United Nations are jointly responsible for financing the World Bank�s operations and to look after how the money is spent by it. The �World Bank� is the name that has emerged for the two popular financing institutions namely the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Together these organizations provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries.

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What are its objectives?

The World Bank group�s mission is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in the developing world. It is a development bank which provides loans, policy advice, technical assistance and knowledge sharing services to low and middle income countries to reduce poverty. The Bank promotes growth to create jobs and to empower poor people to take advantage of these opportunities.

We live in a world so rich that global income is more than $31 trillion in a year. In this world, the average person in some countries earns more than $40,000 a year. But in this same world, 2.8 billion people � more than half the people in developing countries � live on less than $700 a year. Of these, 1.2 billion earn less than $1 a day.

As a result, 33,000 children die every day in developing countries. In these countries, each minute more than one woman dies during childbirth. Poverty keeps more than 100 million children, most of them girls, out of school.

The challenge of reducing these levels of poverty, while the population continues to grow � by an estimated 3 billion people over the next 50 years � is enormous.

The World Bank works to bridge this divide to run rich country resources into poor country growth. One of the world�s largest source of development assistance, the World Bank supports the efforts of developing country governments to build schools and health centers provides water and electricity, fight disease, and protect the environment.

Some 10,000 development professionals from nearly every country in the world work in the World Bank�s Washington DC headquarters or in its 109 country offices.

The World Bank Group: In addition to IBRD and IDA, three other organizations make up the World Bank Group. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) promotes private sector investment by supporting high-risk sectors and countries.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) provides political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors in and lenders to developing countries.

And the international Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) settles investment disputes between foreign investors and their host countries.

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Where is the World Bank situated?

The World Bank is situated in Washington, D.C., USA. The following is its contact address.

The World Bank
1818H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20433 U.S.A.
Tell: (202) 473-1000
Fax: (202) 477-6391

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How is the World Bank Group Organized?

The World Bank Group consists of give closely associated institutions, all owned by the member countries. Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards. The World Bank pursues its work through vice presidential units that focus on a particular region or sector to fight poverty and encourage economic development.

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Who runs the World Bank Group?

The World Bank is run like a cooperative, with its member countries as shareholders. The number of shares a company has is based roughly on the size of its economy. The United States is the largest shareholder with 16.41 percent votes, followed by Japan (7.87 percent), Germany (4.49 percent), the United Kingdom (4.31 percent) and France (4.31 percent). The rest of the shares are divided among the other member countries.

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Who is the ultimate decision making authority in the World Bank Group?

A Board of Governers represents the World Bank�s government shareholders. Generally, these governors are ministers, such as Ministers of Finance or Ministers of Development. The governors are the ultimate policy makers in the World Bank. They meet once a year at the Bank�s Annual Meetings.

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Who does the day-to-day decision making in World Bank?

Because these ministers meet only once a year, they delegate specific duties to their Executive Directors, who work onsite at the Bank. Every member government of the World Bank Group is represented by an Executive Director. The file largest shareholders � France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States- appoint an Executive Director, while other member countries are represented by 19 Executive Directors.

Office of the President of World Bank: The Bank�s president is, by tradition, a national of the largest shareholder, the United States. Elected for a five-year renewable term, the president of the World Bank chairs meetings of the Board of Directors and is responsible for overall management of the Bank. The current president of the World Bank Group is MR. Paul Wolfowitz.

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What is the strength of the World Bank?

The bank employs approximately 9,300 people, including economists, educators, environmental scientists, financial analysts, anthropologists, engineers, and many others. Employees come from about 160 different countries, and over 3000 staff work in country offices.

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