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

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Who can borrow from the World Bank?

The World Bank mainly lends to governments, although certain Bank facilities can also provide direct support to private businesses and to non-profit organisations. Middle-income countries (usually countries with per capita incomes of between US$1,506 and US$5,445) and poorer countries termed as "creditworthy" borrow from the IBRD, while the poorest countries (with per capita incomes of less than US$1095) borrow from the IDA. Loans granted by IDA are interest-free but borrowers are required to pay a fee of less than one per cent of the loan to cover administrative costs.

The IFC provides project financing for private sector projects in developing countries through loans and equity finance by mobilising capital in international financial markets. Forty per cent of the IFC's investments are in the financial sector.

MIGA provides political risk insurance or guarantees to private investors and lenders to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing countries.

Published: Tuesday 23rd August 2005, last edited: Thursday 15th January 2009

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