The World Bank is one of the
world's largest sources of funding and knowledge to support governments of
member countries in their efforts to invest in schools and health centers,
provide water and electricity, fight disease and protect the environment. This
support is provided through project or policy-based loans and grants as well as
technical assistance such as advice and studies.
The goal of the World Bank is to reduce poverty and to improve the living
standards of the people in low and middle-income countries.
The World Bank was established in 1944, as the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development. Recently the "World Bank" name has come to be
used for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and
the International Development Association (IDA). When it first began operations
to speed post World War II reconstruction, it had 38 members, now it has 184,
almost all the countries in the world. As membership grew and their needs
changed, the World Bank expanded and is currently made up of five different
The World Bank is present in 100 countries and has a staff of approximately
10,600 people from around the world. One of the Bank's main strengths is the
international experience provided by its diverse staff.
All support to a borrowing country is guided by a single strategy (called the
Country Assistance Strategy) that the country itself designs with help from the
World Bank and many other donors, aid groups, and civil society organizations.
How the World Bank Assists China
reduction requires the cooperation of various groups, including communities,
civil society, government, and donor agencies. Working with these groups, the
World Bank provides technical expertise and funding for poverty-reduction
programs in areas such as health, agriculture, and basic infrastructure.
- How are Priorities Selected?
Working with governments and civil society, the World Bank develops an action
plan called Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to broadly reduce poverty and
promote economic development. The strategy describes what type of support and
how much could be provided to a country during a 3 year period.
The strategy supports the government's own development program and is
specifically designed to the local conditions in the country. It also designates
funding targets for projects, studies, and other support.
The planned work outlined in the CAS focuses on financial sector development;
state enterprise reform; support for the emerging domestic private sector;
corporate governance; and private participation in infrastructure. IFC, MPDF and
MIGA will expand their work to improve the climate for foreign and domestic
investment. While organized around these cross-sectoral themes, the Bank Group
program will continue to operate at the sectoral level, and wil continue to
promote rural and urban development, and investment in human resources and
- Technical Studies and Reports
The World Bank also produces country-specific studies and reports to provide
countries with additional perspectives on a range of specific development
challenges. Topics of research and analysis are outlined in the Country
Additional studies include reviews of economic policies (Country Economic
Memoranda), fiscal spending (Public Expenditure Review), and environmental
reviews (Environmental Action Plan).
The World Bank promotes discussion of development issues through workshops
and other events. These events bring together groups such as government
policymakers, media, and civil society organizations to discuss how best to move
forward on a given issue.
- Projects Assistance
Once a Country Assistance Strategy is drawn up, a country can begin to
develop projects with World Bank financing and technical support. A project
cycle is created to outline the process of financing, implementing, and
evaluating a project. Various financing options are available based upon the
type of assistance needed.
Loans or credits for these projects are then submitted for approval to the
executive directors, the World Bank's decision-making body representing all
It is important to note that the implementation of projects is managed by the
government itself. The government establishes an office that is responsible for
aspects of implementation, such as procurement and selection of consultants.
Operational policies set guidelines to ensure that projects meet the World
Bank's criteria, including social and environmental standards. Project
evaluations are also conducted to capture and share lessons for future
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