Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) from The AMA Dictionary of Business and Management

The full name for what is popularly known as the World Bank, set up by the Breton Woods Conference of 1944 to help governments finance public projects, make loans to governments, and guarantee loans from private banks. The World Bank includes the International Finance Corporation and the International Development Association. Its funds are raised in commercial markets and it makes long-term loans on subcommercial terms. It is owned by the governments of 185 countries but the dominant partner is the United States, which makes all crucial decisions.

Summary Article: World Bank
from Government and the Economy: An Encyclopedia

The World Bank, formerly known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), was officially founded in July 1944 in the city of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The agreement to form the IBRD was largely contributed by representatives from the United Kingdom and the United States.

The World Bank is a cooperative made up of 188 member countries. These member countries can also be considered as shareholders. They are represented by a board of governors that is the ultimate policy maker at the World Bank. 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. The World Bank is headed by a president nominated by the board of executive directors. A president is entitled to a renewable five-year term. The World Bank is an institution made up of two independent organizations, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which assist the poorest countries with their development needs.

The World Bank is recognized as an international financial institution with a goal of ending poverty in the world. The World Bank is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization has more than 10,000 employees and has 120 offices worldwide. The World Bank has staff members from various working backgrounds, including economists, public policy experts, sector experts, and social scientists. The World Bank's mission is to work toward ending poverty by providing loans to developing nations for capital programs.

The World Bank has established different methods of ending poverty in developing nations. The different methodologies include investments in environmental and natural resource management, education, health, public administration, infrastructure, and financial and private sector development. Most projects are jointly funded in conjunction with private investors, commercial banks, governments, and other interested institutions.

The establishment of the Innovative Knowledge Sharing initiative has brought programs and educational tools to developing nations. Through the Innovative Knowledge Sharing, the World Bank supports developing countries with policy advice, research and analysis, technical assistance, investment advice to developing countries on their investments, and supporting capacity development in countries that the bank is serving. The World Bank sponsors, hosts, and participates in a wide range of conferences and forums on issues pertaining to development, usually with the help of outside partners.

The World Bank has continuously worked to help developing nations end poverty using five of its internal institutions. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) was founded in 1944. It aims to reduce poverty in middle-income countries and creditworthy poorer countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees, risk management products, and analytical and advisory services.

The International Development Association (IDA) was founded in 1944, and aims to reduce poverty by providing loans also referred to as “credits” and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people's living conditions. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) was launched in 1950. It is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. The IFC helps developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), founded in 1988, aims to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people's lives. MIGA fulfills this mandate by offering political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors and lenders. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was created as an impartial international forum providing facilities for the resolution of legal disputes between eligible parties through conciliation or arbitration procedures.

See Also Bretton Woods Agreement; International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Trade Organization (WTO)

Further Reading

  • Gerber, James. 2011. International Economics. 6th ed. Pearson Education San Diego.
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. N.d. “Background.”,,contentMDK:21130269~menuPK:3168298~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:3046012,00.html World Bank.
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment and Disputes (ICSID). N.d. “World Bank/International Centre for Settlement of Investment and Disputes.”
  • International Finance Corporation. N.d. “International Finance Corporation/World Bank.”
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. N.d. “Who We Are.”
  • World Bank. N.d. “About.”
  • Resources for Teachers
  • IMF Center. N.d. “Lesson 1: Ten Basic Questions about Globalization.”
  • The World Bank. N.d. “Vietnam: Personalized Lessons Keep Children from Ethnic Minorities in School.”
  • Bernard P. Kanjoma
    Copyright 2014 by David A. Dieterle and Kathleen C. Simmons

    Related Articles

    Full text Article World Bank
    Encyclopedia of World Trade: From Ancient Times to the Present

    In July 1944, during World War II, representatives from forty-four countries convened a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to reach an agre

    Full text Article International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
    Globalization: Encyclopedia of Trade, Labor, and Politics

    The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), popularly known as the World Bank, was a product of the waning days of World...

    Full text Article World Bank
    The Princeton Encyclopedia of the World Economy

    The World Bank (henceforth “the bank”) is a multilateral institution devoted to the promotion, worldwide, of sustainable economic development and...

    See more from Credo