The World Bank, though far less influential than the IMF, has certainly been no less controversial since its opening in 1946. The bank has actually gone through fundamental changes since accepting its original agenda to promote the postwar recovery of Europe and Japan—its first loan was for $250 million to France in 1947. As it has added to its mandate, it spawned several new organizations to the original International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
In 1956 the bank established the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide subsidized loans and guarantees to poor, underdeveloped countries. The IFC provides long-term financing at near-market rates. The IFC provides $4 to $5 billion in new loans annually. The International Development Association (IDA) is perhaps the most controversial additional arm of the World Bank. The IDA was created in 1960 to provide money to countries too poor to borrow from the World Bank's primary institution, the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development. IDA loans carry no interest rate, are very long term (thirty-five to fifty years), a small yearly fee (.75 percent), and a ten-year grace period. The United States has been the largest contributor to the IDA, providing more than $20 billion between 1960 and 2000. The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was established in 1966 to promote increased private investment to the underdeveloped world. Similarly, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) was created in 1988 to reduce the risk faced by private global investors in poor countries. In addition to providing advice, MIGA insures and guarantees up to 90 percent of a project's investment.
The bank gets its money from country contributions and its investments in financial markets. The membership has increased from the original 44 nations that met at Bretton Woods to 183 in 2001. The United States is by far the largest contributor, providing over $50 billion since 1944. Although its total share has decreased, the United States still provides more than 17 percent of total funds. Several bodies govern the bank, including a board of governors (with a member from each country), a twenty-five-member executive directorate (with the five largest donors—the United States, Japan, Germany, France, and Great Britain holding permanent seats), and a president, who is by tradition an American.
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