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Backgrounder: Brief introduction to World Bank

2010-04-23 14:43 BJT

BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are scheduled for April 24 to 25 in Washington DC to discuss a comprehensive reform program in the Bank's history.

The World Bank is made up of two unique development institutions of 186 members -- the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Each institution plays a different but supportive role to advance the vision of an inclusive and sustainable globalization.

The IBRD focuses on middle-income and creditworthy poor countries, while the IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world.

They provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to the developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and other purposes.

Since its inception in 1944, its mission evolved from the IBRD as facilitator of post-war reconstruction and development to present-day mandate of worldwide poverty alleviation in conjunction with its affiliate, the IDA.

The shareholders are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policy makers at the World Bank. They meet once a year at the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF.

Because the governors only meet annually, they delegate specific duties to 24 Executive Directors, who work on-site at the bank.

The World Bank has been criticized for its legacy problems since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, and there has been a call for its reform and changes in financial regulation. This year's spring meeting is the first meeting since the global recession.

Since July 2008, the World Bank has made commitments of 105 billion U.S. dollars to tackle the global financial crisis and economic recession.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua