Bretton Woods Project - Critical voices on the World Bank and IMF

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Institutions

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WBG—World Bank Group

Established in 1944 at the Bretton Woods summit the World Bank Group is based in Washington D.C. with some 10,000 staff, 30 per cent of which are based in more than 100 country offices. The current president is Jim Yong Kim who was appointed in 2012. The World Bank Group is made up of five organisations: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); International Development Association (IDA); International Finance Corporation (IFC); Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
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IMF—International Monetary Fund

The IMF, an international organisation with 184 member countries, was established in 1944 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange rate stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment. Based in Washington D.C. the managing director (traditionally a European national) is Dominique Strauss Kahn; the Fund currently has 2,693 staff from 141 countries; and 75 countries owe the Fund around $34 billion. Its operations include surveillance (of member countries economies and the global economy), technical assistance and financial support. The latter is provided in the form of loans to which conditions are attached.
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IBRD—International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Established in 1944 and more commonly known as the World Bank, the IBRD provides under three main headings: Straqtegy and coordination services, financial services including loans and development assistance to middle and low-income countries with a stated aim of reducing poverty, and knowldge services. Loans generally have a five-year grace period and must be repaid over a period of 15-20 years. In 2008 the IBRD commited a total of $ 13.5 billion in loans, in contrast to $13.6 billon in 2005, destined for a large range of projects. The Bank obtains some of its funds through the sale of bonds on international financial market while most of its income comes from interest on loans made from its own capital. This capital consists of reserves built up over the years as well as money paid in by its 184 member countries. While not a profit maximizing organisation, the IBRD has earned net income every year since 1948.
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IDA—International Development Association

Created in 1960, IDA offers assistance to the poorest countries, providing them with interest-free loans, grants, technical assistance and policy advice. IDA is funded by wealthier nations, lending only to those countries that have a per capita income of less than $1,135 and lack the financial ability to borrow from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which lends to middle-income countries. At present, 64 countries are eligible to borrow from IDA (including 14 'blend' countries which are credit-worthy enough to borrow from IBRD as well). Since 2002, IDA has also offered grants to countries based on their risk of debt distress. IDA lending totalled $11.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, of which 19% was grants (a slightly lower proportion than the average for the last six years).
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Inspection Panel

Established in 1993, the Inspection Panel was created to address the concerns of those who are affected by Bank-funded projects and to ensure the Bank adheres to its operational policies throughout its projects. The three panel members are elected by the Bank's executive board to serve non-renewable five-year terms, but remain independent of Bank management. The current chairperson is Edith Brown Weiss; the other current members are Tongroj Onchan and Werner Kiene.
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CAO—Compliance Advisor Ombudsman

The CAO was created to allow communities affected by the World Bank's private sector arms: the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), to raise their concerns directly. It performs the role of arbitrator and advisor on issues relating to the social and environmental outcomes of projects which involve the IFC and MIGA. The three main functions of the CAO are Compliance, Advisor and Ombudsman. The CAO is located in Washington D.C. and comprises of eight staff, currently headed by Meg Taylor.
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IEO—Independent Evaluation Office

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) was established to conduct objective and independent evaluations on issues, on the basis of relevance to the mandate of the IMF. The IEO also aims to promote greater understanding of the Fund's work throughout the membership. While the executive director is appointed by the Fund's board, the IEO is supposed to be independent of the IMF's management and staff. The IEO, which was established in 2001, has thirteen staff including the director, currently Mr. Thomas A. Bernes.
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IEG—Independent Evaluation Group

The IEG was established in 1973, and was previously known as the Operations Evaluation Department. It reports to the executive board of the World Bank. Its headquarters are located in Washington D.C. and the current director general is Dr. Vinod Thomas. It is an independent unit within the World Bank designed to assess: the effectiveness of development projects; how projects will be run by a borrower; and the long-term impact of projects on a country's development. It covers both public and private lending. These functions aim to provide objective assessment of the Bank's work and to learn from the experience of projects. Its stated aim is to provide accountability and to disseminate lessons learnt and provide recommendations from evaluations.
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IFC—International Finance Corporation

Founded in 1956, the IFC assists with private sector investments, primarily through mobilizing capital on international financial markets, and by providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses in developing countries. The IFC coordinates its activities in many areas with the other institutions in the World Bank Group: the World Bank president also serves as the IFC's president. Its current executive vice president is Jin-Yong Cai. The IFC generally operates independently as it is legally and financially autonomous with its own Articles of Agreement, share capital, management and staff. The IFC has 3,100 staff; 181 members; and lends in 80 countries, with 40 per cent of its investments in the financial sector. In 2008 the IFC´s worldwide committed portfolio for its own account was $32.3 million and $7.5 million held for participants in loan syndications.
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MIGA—Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

Created in 1988 MIGA aims to encourage foreign direct investment by providing guarantees, known as political risk insurance, to foreign investors against loss caused by non-commercial risks in developing countries. MIGA, which is part of the World Bank Group, also provides technical assistance such as capacity building and advisory services to help countries attract foreign investment. In addition MIGA provides dispute mediation services to reduce future obstacles to investment. Since its creation MIGA has issued nearly $14.7 billion in guarantees for projects in 91 countries. 42 per cent of its activity is concentrated within areas considered to be high-risk and low-income, many of which are in Africa. MIGA's current vice president is Yukiko Omura.
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ICSID—International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

ICSID is an arbitration forum established in 1966 to facilitate the settlement of disputes between governments and foreign investors in the hope that such a facility would help foster greater international investment flows. In 2006 ICSID had over one hundred active cases before it. ICSID is legally independent of the other, better-known parts of the World Bank Group, but in practice is tightly linked as its expenses are funded from the Bank's budget and all of its members are also members of the World Bank. Headquartered in Washington, Nassib Zaidé is the deputy secretary general of ICSID, and has also served as secretary general following Ana Palacio´s departure.
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