World Bank Group

Mission

The World Bank Group consists of five closely associated institutions all owned by member countries that carry ultimate decision-making power.

Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission of fighting poverty and improving living standards of the people in the developing world. The term “World Bank Group” encompasses all five institutions.

The term “World Bank” refers specifically to two of the five: IBRD and IDA.

The three other institutions are:

  • the International Finance Corporation (IFC);
  • the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA);
  • and the International Centre for Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Reconstruction remains an important focus of the Bank’s work, given the natural disasters and post conflict rehabilitation needs that affect developing and transition economies.

However, the portfolio’s focus has been broadened to include social sector lending projects, poverty alleviation, debt relief* and good governance. The focus at the World Bank today is poverty reduction in the context of the “Millennium Development Goals” that call for the elimination of poverty and sustained development.

Governance

The World Bank is like a cooperative, where its 184 member countries are shareholders.

The shareholders are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policy makers at the World Bank.

Generally, the governors are member countries’ ministers of finance or ministers of development. They meet once a year at the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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

Advising Development Committee

The Development Committee (DC) is a forum of the World Bank and the IMF which facilitates intergovernmental consensus-building on development issues. The Committee was established in 1974.

The Committee’s mandate is to advise the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on critical development issues and on the financial resources required to promote economic development in developing countries.

The World Bank and Belgium

Belgium is a founding member of the IBRD. Belgium is also a member of IDA (1964), IFC (1956), MIGA (1992) and ICSID (1970).

Belgium shares its Board representation with 9 other countries: Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey.

With 1.84% of IBRD shares (as of June 30, 2003), Belgium has 1.81% of votes in IBRD.

The role of the International and European Financial Affairs administration (IEFA)

As the official communication channel between the World Bank and the Belgian authorities, the IEFA administration:

assists the Belgian representative at the institution with the follow-up of the policies and strategies of the institution;

prepares on behalf of the Minister of Finance files which are submitted to him in his capacity as Governor of the institution;

participates actively in the preparation of the Annual Meetings and the bi-yearly DC meetings;

leads the three-yearly replenishment negotiations of the International Development Association.

 

WORLD BANK GROUP 

Established: July 1, 1944 during a conference of 44 countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Affiliates:

  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
  • The International Development Association (IDA)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

Membership: 184 countries

Headquarters: Washington DC, more than 100 country offices

Staff: Approximately 10,000 employees

DC: Over the years, the Committee has interpreted this mandate to include trade and global environmental issues in addition to traditional development matters.

The Committee meets twice a year; in the spring in tandem with the International Monetary and Financial Committee, and in the fall before the Bank-Fund Annual Meetings.

The Committee has 24 members, usually Ministers of Finance or Development.

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