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

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What is the World Bank Group?

The World Bank Group is now made up of five institutions, four of which were created after 1944, but all sharing a similar mandate, of reducing poverty and facilitating economic growth in developing countries. The original institution is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), often simply known as the World Bank. Since then other institutions have been added: the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

While each of these institutions possess their own governing Articles of Agreement, all of them come under the general administration of the World Bank, sharing a common Board of Governors and Board of Directors and working under the leadership of World Bank president appointed by the US government - currently Paul Wolfowitz.

The World Bank Group comprises of 185 member countries and is based in Washington DC. All members of the World Bank must be members of the IMF and membership of the IDA, IFC and MIGA are contingent upon membership of the World Bank. The IDA currently has 161 members; the IFC has 174; MIGA has 154; and ICSIID has 133 members.

Published: Tuesday 23rd August 2005, last edited: Saturday 14th April 2007

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