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WORLD BANK Working for a World Free of Poverty. By: Lena Drewes. The History. Established on July 1 st , 1944 Originally known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) World Bank became the official title in 1975

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the history
The History
  • Established on July 1st, 1944
  • Originally known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
  • World Bank became the official title in 1975
  • Originally created to assist post-war reconstruction and development (as original name suggests) in Europe after the end of World War II
    • 1947, France received the World Bank’s first loan of $250 million dollars
  • Created to make sure that the Great Depression did not re-occur, through economic planning and cooperation
  • The three main focus areas in the 1990’s:
      • Crisis management in East Asia and Latin America
      • Foster transition from centrally planned to market originated economies (Russia and former Soviet republics)
      • Jump start development and alleviate poverty in the poorest, war-torn, part of the world (Africa)
basic information
Basic Information
  • Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • More than 10,000 employees
  • Over 100 offices worldwide
  • 187 Member countries
  • 5 member organizations
    • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
    • International Development Association (IDA)
    • International Financial Corporation (IFC)
    • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
    • International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • Current President- Robert B. Zoellick (11th president)
world bank goals and mission
World Bank Goals and Mission

Reducing poverty by giving loans to developing counties with very low interest rate (0.5%)

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

As stated on the official World Bank website (these are also the MDG)

  • 187 member countries

Largest shareholders:

        • United States (controls 16.4% of spending

and decision making power)

        • Japan (7.9%)
        • Germany (4.5%)
        • United Kingdom (4.3%)
        • France (4.3%)

Each may send one representative to serve as part of the World Bank

Each country provides financial contributions, known as quotas, which are based on the size of the country and its economy.

  • Meet once a year at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors (together with the IMF)

Traditionally held in Washington 2 out of 3 years, every 3rd year it is held in a different member country

what the world bank does
What the World Bank Does
  • In an attempt to reduce poverty, the World Bank issues loans to developing countries with little or no interest.
    • e.g. During the past 40 years, life expectancy in developing countries has risen by 20 years—about as much as was achieved in all of human history prior to the mid-20th century.
  • The World Bank is a crucial source of financial and technical support to developing countries around the world.
    • e.g. The World Bank contributed money, engineering, and knowledge needed to re-build roads, hospitals, homes, schools, and sanitation facilities, to the countries affected by the 2004 Asian Tsunami.
  • The World Bank aims to achieve lasting results by providing the essential resources and knowledge to build both public and private relationships
    • e.g. With help from the World Bank, over the last 30 years, adult illiteracy in the developing world as been nearly cut in half to 25%.

The World Bank is an endless target of criticism, from both left and right wing

      • Left wing says: is a tool of US imperialism
      • Right wing says: supporting corrupt governments that don’t have the environments and their own people’s interest in mind
      • Anti-Globalization movement: accuse of enforcing global capitalism
  • Regulations are put into place on the borrowing countries
      • The attached loan conditions often have no regard for the countries individual circumstances, and do not solve the countries economic problems
  • The World Bank chooses the types of projects they want to fund, which often have great social and environmental impacts on the regions involved in the project
      • e.g. displacement of indigenous people
  • If the World Bank chooses private partners, instead of supporting the state to provide essential goods and services, such as healthcare and education, this may result in a lack of these services in a time of need.
  • Since the IMF and the World Bank dominate regulations and structures from the perspective of industrialized countries, the developing countries have little influence on their own development.
  • It is the World Bank’s mission to reduce poverty, and not create more business opportunities for US contractors, which is the reality with the many larger projects that the bank finances, that require the materials and expertise of Northern contractors
world bank globalization
WORLD BANK + Globalization

The World Bank has encouraged countries to integrate “into the world economy by requiring governments to open up to global trade, investment, and capital” as stated in by Ngaire Woods. The World Bank’s idea was not only to make the world a better place but to use globalization as a solution to the world’s economic challenges.

The World Bank is providing the necessary money for many developing counties to set up businesses and improve their overall living conditions. As shown in the examples on the previous slide the living conditions have been so dramatically improved that life expectancy has risen by 20 years in some countries. These living conditions may be those of the outsourced workers and the people working for large corporations in the United States or other developed countries.

As said on the YouThink! website of the World Bank, “Some economists have described globalization as a fast train for which the countries need to "build a platform" to get on. This platform is really about creating a foundation to make sure the country functions well. It includes property rights and rule of law, basic education and health for the people, and reliable infrastructure (such as ports, roads, and customs administration).” They went on to say, “International organizations, such as the World Bank, bilateral aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations, work with developing countries to establish this foundation to help them prepare for global integration.”

In summary, the World Bank is using its influences and money to help the developing countries begin to integrate into the globalized world. The World Bank is working to give these countries a fair chance at becoming more developed by improving basic living conditions, therefore increasing life expectancy and enabling more people to get an education so that they can be knowledgeable about their own lives and the future of their countries, and maybe even have a part in the development of the country into a large contributor to the worlds trading and exchange market.

world bank interdependence
WORLD BANK + Interdependence

The World Bank creates interdependence between the developed and developing countries by enabling an access path between them. Using the funds/quotas from the developed countries, the World Bank lends money to the developing countries with very little interest. This allows the developing countries to improve their living and working conditions, which makes more efficient work possible. However, the World Bank gets to decide which project will get funding and since the fund givers/ rich and influential member countries have a say in this process, the chosen projects often end up benefiting the developed countries by needing Northern technology and knowledge in order to be successful. This can result in the World Bank controlling what the developing countries do and need. However, this opens markets for the member countries to invest in, and it improves the lives of those in the developing world so it benefits both sides. Also with the new funds, the developing countries can begin to produce more exports of their own and these can then be bought by the developed world, for a probably cheaper price than if the products were made in the developed countries Although the rich and poor countries do need each other since the poor need money for better living conditions and education and the rich need the poor countries for production and investments, the problem is that the World Bank can also create more of a dependency, and the World Bank may gain more influence over the world economy by choosing only what they think is worth funding.

b ibliography
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  • Lordan, Meredith. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. Print.
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  • Tradition, By. "FAQs - About The World Bank." World Bank Group. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <,,contentMDK:20147466~menuPK:344189~pagePK:98400~piPK:98424~theSitePK:95474,00.html>.
  • "YouTube - WorldBank's Channel." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <>.
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  • Woods, Ngaire. The Globalizers: the IMF, the World Bank, and Their Borrowers. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006. Print.
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