World Bank background and objectives have expanded from that of a single institution beginning in 1944 to an associated group composed of five development institutions.
Board of Governors
The 185 member countries hold shares in the World Bank. A Board of Governors, represent these shareholders, who also function as policy makers at the World Bank. These governors, for the most part, constitute ministers of finance or ministers of development from member countries. Governors meet once a year.
As the five largest shareholders, France, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are each responsible for appointing an executive director. Even though governors only meet once a year, World Bank Governors delegate specific duties to 24 Executive Directors who follow guidelines and objectives to ensure " customer service" falls within the scope of their objectives. These directors work on-site at the bank. Nineteen executive directors represent member countries other than the five largest.
World Bank Background and Objectives
World Bank background and objectives have expanded and evolved over the years. The original purpose and objectives as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was a facilitator role in post-war reconstruction. Since 1944, this role has expanded and World Bank's objectives have grown to develop its current mandate to alleviate worldwide poverty. They work closely with their affiliate, the International Development Association.
With all this expansion and growth, World Bank's original focus has not changed. Today, reconstruction remains a top priority in such situations as:
- Natural disasters
- Needs affecting developing economies
- Post conflict rehabilitation
- Needs affecting a transitioning economy
In 2000, the World Bank background and objectives expanded with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals. This effort cemented a historic, global partnership with specific goals targeted to reduce not only poverty but also hunger, illiteracy and disease. In an effort to accomplish these goals, the World Bank background and objectives have grown to include ventures in social sector lending. The purpose of these projects is to alleviate poverty and offer debt relief. Today World Bank considers the reduction of poverty as an overarching goal. Within this effort, they strive to alleviate poverty in developing countries with sustainable economic growth by encouraging the poor to take part in development. World Bank hopes to accomplish this goal with incentives like strengthening governments and educating government officials. Other objectives include:
- Creating infrastructure
- Develop financial systems
- Protect individual and property rights
- Implement legal systems that encourage business
As an overall objective, World Bank strives to combat corruption to ensure that the progress they make remains effective.
Improving Living Standards
Across the earth, World Bank objectives touch lives for the better. World Bank development projects engage people to improve living standards while reducing poverty. In 2006, the World Bank contributed $23.6 billion for projects worldwide. Current projects within developing countries like Bosnia, Herzegovina, Mexico and India number more than 1,800.
It's one thing to set goals and objectives, but without an effective way to measure the results it's difficult to know if they are effectively being met. In 1998, the World Bank adopted a Comprehensive Development Framework. This framework directs the development of poverty-reduction strategies and is specifically designed to reach objectives. It outlines four principles:
- Development strategies should be comprehensive and shaped by a long-term vision.
- Each country should devise and direct its own development agenda based on citizen participation.
- Government donors, civil society, the private secotr and other stakeholders should work together in partnership led by recipient countries to carry out development strategies.
- Development performance should be evaluated on the basis of measurable results.
Detailed assessments track progress made in each country.
Currently, the more than 63,000 donor-funded development projects supported worldwide by the World Bank are individually governed by guidelines and procedures put in place to ensure aid gets into the hands of the poor. As donors coordinate their activities and synchronize procedures, that capacity within developing countries can be strengthened and improved.
Since its inception in 1944, World Bank has proven to be a vital financial source around the world.