The World bank

The past 70 years have seen major changes in the world economy.  Over that time, the World Bank Group—the world’s largest development institution—has worked to help more than 100 developing countries and countries in transition adjust to these changes by offering loans and tailored knowledge and advice. The Bank Group works with country governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, regional development banks, think tanks, and other international  institutions on issues ranging from climate change, conflict, and food security to education, agriculture, finance, and trade. All of these efforts support the Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity of the poorest 40 percent of the population in all countries. 

Founded in 1944, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development—soon called the World Bank—has expanded to a closely associated group of five development institutions.  Originally, its loans helped rebuild countries devastated by World War II.  In time, the focus shifted from reconstruction to development, with a heavy emphasis on infrastructure such as dams, electrical grids, irrigation systems, and roads.  With the founding of the International Finance Corporation in 1956, the institution became able to lend to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries.  And the founding of the International Development Association in 1960 put greater emphasis on the poorest countries, part of a steady shift toward the eradication of poverty becoming the Bank Group’s primary goal.  The subsequent launch of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency further rounded out the Bank Group’s ability to connect global financial resources to the needs of developing countries. 

Today the Bank Group’s work touches nearly every sector that is important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries.  While sound project selection and design remain paramount, the Bank Group recognizes a wide range of factors that are critical to success—effective institutions, sound policies, continuous learning through evaluation and knowledge-sharing, and partnership, including with the private sector.  The Bank Group has long-standing relationships with more than 180 member countries, and it taps these to address development challenges that are increasingly global.  On critical issues like climate change, pandemics, and forced migration, the Bank Group plays a leading role because it is able to convene discussion among its country members and a wide array of partners.  It can help address crises while building the foundations for longer-term, sustainable development.

The evolution of the Bank Group has also been reflected in the diversity of its multidisciplinary staff, who include economists, public policy experts, sector experts, and social scientists, based at headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in the field.  Today, more than a third of staff are based in country offices. 

As demand for its services has increased over time, the Bank Group has risen to meet them. For perspective, the World Bank made four loans totaling $497 million in 1947, as compared to 302 commitments totaling $60 billion in 2015. 


The World Bank is like a cooperative, made up of 189 member countries. These member countries, or shareholders, are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policymakers at the World Bank. Generally, 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 governors delegate specific duties to 25 Executive Directors, who work on-site at the Bank. The five largest shareholders appoint an executive director, while other member countries are represented by elected executive directors.

  • World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim chairs meetings of the Boards of Directors and is responsible for overall management of the Bank. The President is selected by the Board of Executive Directors for a five-year, renewable term.
  • The Executive Directors make up the Boards of Directors of the World Bank. They normally meet at least twice a week to oversee the Bank's business, including approval of loans and guarantees, new policies, the administrative budget, country assistance strategies and borrowing and financial decisions.

The World Bank operates day-to-day under the leadership and direction of the president, management and senior staff, and the vice presidents in charge of Global Practices, Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas, regions, and functions.

Financing Instruments


  • Investment Project Financing provides IBRD loan, IDA credit/grant and guarantee financing to governments for activities that create the physical/social infrastructure necessary to reduce poverty and create sustainable development.
  • Development Policy Financing provides IBRD loan, IDA credit/grant and guarantee budget support to governments or a political subdivision for a program of policy and institutional actions to help achieve sustainable, shared growth and poverty reduction.
  • Program-for-Results links disbursement of funds directly to the delivery of defined results, helping countries improve the design and implementation of their own development programs and achieve lasting results by strengthening institutions and building capacity. 
  • Trust funds and grants allow scaling up of activities, notably in fragile and crisis-affected situations; enable the Bank Group to provide support when our ability to lend is limited; provide immediate assistance in response to natural disasters and other emergencies; and pilot innovations that are later mainstreamed into our operations. 
  • Private sector options for financing, direct investment and guarantees are provided by MIGA and IFC.
  • Customized options and risk management
  • Multiphase Programmatic Approach allows countries to structure a long, large, or complex engagement as a set of smaller linked operations (or phases), under one program. It can be applied to Investment Project Financing and Program-for-Results and is not a stand-alone instrument. 

Investment Project Financing (IPF)

is used in all sectors, with a concentration in the infrastructure, human development, agriculture, and public administration sectors. IPF is focused on the long-term (5 to 10 year horizon) and supports a wide range of activities including capital-intensive investments, agricultural development, service delivery, credit and grant delivery [including micro-credit], community-based development, and institution building.

Unlike commercial lending, Bank IPF not only supplies borrowing countries with needed financing but also serves as a vehicle for sustained, global knowledge transfer and technical assistance. This includes support to analytical and design work in the conceptual stages of project preparation, technical support and expertise (including in the areas of project management and fiduciary and safeguards activities) during implementation, and institution building throughout the project.

Review and Reform

2013 - clarified processes, added more flexibility for borrowers, strengthened effectiveness and developmental impact. See Briefing on Changes

2017 – Multiphase Programmatic Approach is developed and approved for use. 

IPF Resources                                               

Development Policy Financing (DPF)

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017

Development Policy Financing (DPF)

provides rapidly-disbursing financing to help a borrower address actual or anticipated development financing requirements. DPF aims to support the borrower in achieving sustainable development through a program of policy and institutional actions, for example, strengthening public financial management, improving the investment climate, addressing bottlenecks to improve service delivery, and diversifying the economy. DPF supports such reforms through non-earmarked general budget financing that is subject to the borrower's own implementation processes and systems. The Bank's use of DPF in a country is determined in the context of the Country Partnership Framework (CPF).

The DPF policy emphasizes country ownership and alignment, stakeholder consultation, donor coordination, and results, and requires a systematic treatment of fiduciary risks and of the potential environmental and distributional consequences of supported policies. DPF can be extended as loans, credits, or grants. Funds are made available to the client based on:

  • maintenance of an adequate macroeconomic policy framework, as determined by the Bank with inputs from IMF assessments
  • satisfactory implementation of the overall reform program
  • completion of a set of critical policy and institutional actions agreed between the Bank and the client.

Development Policy Operations: Prior Actions 

Prior Actions are policy and institutional actions deemed critical to achieving the objectives of a program supported by the development policy operation. These present the legal terms defined in the loan agreement that have to be met for each operation before disbursement. A database of prior actions for all development policy operations since 1980 is updated annually at the end of each fiscal year by the Operations Policy and Country Services Vice Presidency.


Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA)

Allows countries to structure a long, large, or complex engagement as a set of smaller linked operations (or phases), under one program. As a result of breaking down a single loan into phases, Bank clients can match borrowing more closely with financing needs, permitting more efficient use of financial resources for both the Bank and clients. This “adaptive approach” also strengthens the potential for crowding in other sources of capital to support development objectives.

Subsequent phases of MPA programs will be prepared as separate operations with rigorous adherence to all applicable World Bank policies with regard to management reviews, fiduciary assessments, environmental and social safeguards assessments, and timely public disclosures and consultation with affected people.

This approach also encourages more learning and adaptation, as subsequent phases will be informed by lessons learned in previous ones. This will help ensure operations are more responsive to changing country circumstances.

The World Bank Group

IBRD and IFC both issue bonds in the capital markets. IDA recently obtained a AAA/Aaarating, and is planning to access the capital markets in the future. IBRD, IDA and IFC share the same overall development goals, but are legally separate entities.Each entity has its own risk profile and capital structure.

IBRD was created in 1944 to rebuild Europe after World War II and has been referred to as “World Bank” almost as soon as it was established.


Since inception, IBRD was designed to be financially self-sustaining and earn income to support its development activities –it was not set up as an aid agency. IBRD’s first loans were made to France and other European countries for reconstruction purposes; loans to Japan and other creditworthy countries followed.

As IBRD's focus shifted towards poverty alleviation as part of development in the 1960s, it continued to lend to countries that were creditworthy and could borrow at market-based rates. The International Development Association (IDA) was created to provide concessional financing for poorer and less creditworthy countries.

Country Partnership Framework

Projects follow the “World Bank Project Cycle” within the Country Partnership Framework to:

Address priorities identified in the Country Diagnostic; Contribute to the twin goals (end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity);Ensure social, environmental and governance (ESG) aspects are covered; and Achieve expected outcomes.


World Bank Debt Products Sustainable Development Bonds:

Investors are incorporating environmental, social and governance criteria in their investment decisions.

Because of the overall social purpose of the World Bank and its policies, all World Bank bonds are attractive for ESG/SRI investors.

All World Bank bonds are social bonds that support sustainable development.

Investors support various sectors: agriculture, education, energy, finance/trade/industry, governance, health and social services, transportation, water/sanitation and themes: gender, environment.


Why Invest with the World Bank?


Safety and Purpose. IBRD’s AAA/Aerating is based on a solid financial structure, conservative financial policies and consistent performance, as well as support and capital backing from its shareholders.

Issuing debt since 1947; triple-A rating since 1959

Variety of fixed income products: multiple currencies, structures and maturities

Strong balance sheet as result of prudent financial policies

Funds only for sovereigns and sovereign-guaranteed projects

Diversified sovereign shareholders & recognized preferred creditor status

All bonds fund the World Bank’s sustainable development programs aimed at achieving a positive social and/or environmental impact

Transparent reporting -project documents show focus on results

All World Bank bonds support the Sustainable Development Goals. World Bank Sustainable Development Bonds are a natural fit for investors seeking environmental, social and governance investments.



What Investment Products does the World Bank Offer?


Meet Investors’ Needs Offer a wide range of debt instruments from a AAA/Aaa issuer, with various characteristics including flexible structures, size, liquidity and maturities.

Customize products to meet investor preferences –including to support specific purposes (e.g. green bonds) or take on additional risk (e.g. cat bonds).

Bonds issued in over 57 different currencies. Maturities up to 50 years.

A 0% Basel II and III risk weighting minimizes capital requirements. Liquid bonds are considered level 1 HQLA (high quality liquid assets).

High Execution Standards Broad sponsorship from underwriters with solid primary placement with a diversified investor base. Strong aftermarket spread performance for liquid bonds.

The World Bank offers global bonds in a variety of currencies and maturities through strategic offerings designed to meet investor demand.

Global bonds provide investors with liquidity and strong dealer commitment to secondary market support.

They provide diversification among triple-A holdings and benefit from a rarity value in the marketplace.

Global Bond characteristics: Issue size is typically USD 1-4 billion, or benchmark size for each market

Maturities generally range between 2-10 years

Denominated in a variety of currencies, including Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, New Zealand dollars, South African rand, Turkish lira, and US dollars .World Bank bonds are represented in major indices.

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