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World Bank Group Information Research Guide

Helping people find information about and by the World Bank Group.

What is the purpose of this guide?

World Bank Main Complex, Washington D.C.Welcome to the World Bank Research Guide. This site pulls together trusted public sources of economic development information from the Bank Groups’s many websites to help the general public, librarians, researchers, and development practitioners save time when searching for development data and research, as well as information from and about the Bank Group.  

What is the World Bank Group?

With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA, and ICSID) working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.

Together, IBRD and IDA form the World Bank, which provides financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to governments of developing countries.  IDA focuses on the world’s poorest countries, while IBRD assists middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries.  

IFC, MIGA, and ICSID focus on strengthening the private sector in developing countries.  Through these institutions, the World Bank Group provides financing, technical assistance, political risk insurance, and settlement of disputes to private enterprises, including financial institutions.

Organization and managers

How is the Bank Group organized? Unit explanations and charts

Who governs the Bank Group?

Boards of Governors

The 189 member countries, or shareholders, are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policymakers at the World Bank. They meet once a year at the Annual Meetings.

How did it begin?

Conceived in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development's initial aim was to help rebuild European countries devastated by World War II (reconstruction) as well as helping developing economies (development).

 

How do countries become members: Articles of Agreement

The Articles of Agreement outline the conditions of membership and the general principles of organization, management, and operations.

Governors resolutions – Generally passed at Annual Meetings, these concern membership, elections, financial statements, net income allocation, transfer from surplus, and similar topics.

Who’s in charge?

The Bank Group President chairs meetings of the Boards of Directors and is responsible for overall management of the Bank Group. The President is selected by the Board of Executive Directors for a five-year, renewable term.

The Executive Directors make up the Boards of Directors of the Bank Group. They normally meet at least twice a week to oversee the Bank's business; including approval of loans and guarantees, new policies, the administrative budget, country assistance strategies, and borrowing and financial decisions.

Where does the money come from?

How can I learn more about Bank Group finance?

Financial statements are prepared on a quarterly basis for:

The information is also available as a downloadable spreadsheet of the Condensed Balance Sheets (entirety of Bank Group)

Overall finances can be seen on the Open Finances site.

A database of all IBRD bonds (1947-present) is updated periodically.