What Does the World Bank Do?

By Stock Research Pro • May 6th, 2009

The World Bank is an international institution that was developed to assist developing countries by giving loans and offering financial advisement. The goal of the World Bank is to assist in plans for economic development with the goal of improved living conditions for the citizens of these countries. Created in 1944, the World Bank is one of two major financial institutions that resulted from the Bretton Woods Conference (the other being the International Monetary Fund). The World Bank currently has 185 member countries that comprise its ownership.

Structure of the World Bank

There are two primary institutions within the World Bank:

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): Focuses on providing funding, guidance, and assistance for the economic development of member middle-income countries.

International Development Association (IDA): Assists the poorest members by providing long-term, interest-free loans.

Funds for the IDA are provided largely by contributions from the governments of the more wealthy nations. The IBRD, on the other hand, raises the majority of its funding through its activities on the world’s financial markets.

“Strategic Themes” of the World Bank

The World Bank describes six goals or strategic themes for its organization:

Assisting the Poorest Nations: The organization leverages the resources of the IDA in its efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition in these countries.

Post-Conflict and Fragile States: The organization endeavors to help prevent conflict and support reconstruction efforts in member nations dealing with war and other destabilizing events.

Middle-Income Countries: The goal for these nations is to mobilize funds to enhance infrastructure and other essential services.

Global Public Goods: The efforts in this area focus on international environmental and healthcare challenges.

Arab World: Recognizing the potential for strong growth and development within Arab nations, the organization seeks effective partnerships with countries in the Arab world.

Knowledge and Learning: These efforts provide analysis of the challenges faced by member countries and track progress against benchmarks.


The above information is educational and should not be interpreted as financial advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, you should consult a financial or tax advisor.


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