One of our partners, The World Bank Group (WBG), is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to poor countries. It is the largest and most famous development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group. The bank is based in Washington, D.C. and provided around $30 billion in loans and assistance to “developing” and transition countries in 2012. The bank’s mission is to reduce poverty.
The World Bank’s (the IBRD and IDA’s) activities are focused on developing countries, in fields such as human development (e.g. education, health), agriculture and rural development (e.g. irrigation, rural services), environmental protection (e.g. pollution reduction, establishing and enforcing regulations), infrastructure (e.g. roads, urban regeneration, electricity), large industrial construction projects, and governance (e.g. anti-corruption, legal institutions development). The IBRD and IDA provide loans at preferential rates to member countries, as well as grants to the poorest countries. Loans or grants for specific projects are often linked to wider policy changes in the sector or the country’s economy as a whole. For example, a loan to improve coastal environmental management may be linked to development of new environmental institutions at national and local levels and the implementation of new regulations to limit pollution, or not, such as in the World Bank financed constructions of paper mills along the Rio Uruguay in 2006.