o  IBRD - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
   o  IDA -International Development Association 
   o  IFC - International Finance Corporation 
   o  MIGA - Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
   o  ICSID - International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes 
last updated 2014 July 16
INTRODUCTION   The World Bank is not one single entity but rather a group of five institutions

In their own words
"...the World Bank Group consists of five closely associated institutions: 

  • IBRD - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
  • IDA -International Development Association 
  • IFC - International Finance Corporation 
  • MIGA - Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency 
  • ICSID - International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes " 
World Bank
for the 
  2014 July
BRICS nations
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • India
  • China
  • South Africa
announced a 
  • $50 billion development bank, and a
  • $100 billion currency exchange reserve 
which experts say can rival the World Bank and the IMF
a widely distributed photo of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa at the 6th BRICS summit in Brazil 2014 July 14th
This new development bank and the currency exchange reserve require some future legislative approval.

One of the things the BRICS made a point of announcing is that the management of the bank will be "democratic", while pointing out that the IMF and the World Bank are run mostly by Europeans and North Americans.


KEY POINTS ..... The activities of the World Bank, particularly the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are important to international businesses because the projects, paid for by the bank, are projects that many companies can be involved in.

Simply put, a Canadian company can make money exporting, or, it can make money by being paid to do something in a developing country - with the money coming from the World Bank.

Both the IMF and the World Bank have become increasingly popular in the business media as people recognize the power and influence of these organizations. This "exposure" has not always resulted in favourable reflections on these two institutions since they have been criticized for interferring in a way which has had either negative results for the receiving country, or negative results for the supporting country. Therefore, both the World Bank and the IMF have embarked on some public relations activities and you can see this in their respective web sites.


Check out
"Ten Things You Never Knew About The World Bank"
1. The World Bank is the world's largest external funder of education
2. The World Bank is the world's largest external funder in the fight against HIV/AIDS
3. The World Bank is the world's largest external funder of health programs
"8. The World Bank's priorities have changed dramatically 
     In 1980, investment in the power sector accounted for 21 percent of Bank lending. Today, that figure is down to 2 percent. By contrast, lending for health, nutrition and education has expanded almost fivefold from 5 percent in 1980 to over 22 percent today."

Who is the World Bank - 8,634 Bank staff employed in Washington, DC and 2,679 people overseas. The World Bank, with an annual budget of $20 billion, is the world's major aid organisation which focuses on eradicating poverty.

Reports The World Bank produces a number of widely reports on development issues

WDR 2012: Gender Equality and Development 

The 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development finds that women's lives around the world have improved dramatically, but gaps remain in many areas. The authors use a conceptual framework to examine progress to date, and then recommend policy actions.

WDR 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development

Conflict causes human misery, destroys communities and infrastructure, and can cripple economic prospects. The goal of this World Development Report is to contribute concrete, practical suggestions to the debate on how to address and overcome violent conflict and fragility.

World Bank Development Report 2010 video
a good video to watch.

World Bank Development Report 2009 video
used in 2010 class



Doctor Cave Beach, Montego Bay, north coast of Jamaica, 2007 photo by WTG Richardson
The World Bank provides assistance to many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. One of the significant categories of assistance is improving market access - simply meaning things to help farmers sell their products and services.

Improving market access can mean assistance to build

  • roads and bridges
  • telecommunications
  • storage and handling facilities
  • vehicles and vehicle repair
2009 Sept World Bank announced a $ 15 Million loan to Jamaica to "increase income among the rural population by improving market access for small-scale agricultural producers and tourism service providers".
The rural Economic Development Initiative will stimulate rural economic growth through financing about 110 rural sub-projects.

Jamaica - Rural Economic Development Initiative Project : environmental assessment and environmental management framework 
- description from the World Bank website as to the considerations in implementing assistance
1) construction work must be carried out from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm or according to local regulations; 
2) blasting should be conducted during daylight; 
3) contractor to make suitable arrangements for use of sanitary facilities for his workers; 4) collect all production waste, recycle and re-use, and/or collect and store in closed containers. Dispose of collected waste materials at approved landfill or disposal site; 
5) feed animals on time to reduce the effects of stress resulting in them squealing, squawking, and bellowing


photo from
The World Bank provides assistance to many countries through the IBRD - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
December 2007 The World Bank supplied a US$10 million emergency loan to support Jamaica to recover from Hurricane Dean disaster,
The Jamaica Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Project
rehabilitation of:
  • Schools
  • Community Health Clinics.
  • Roads
+ Capacity Buildingfor Disaster Preparedness, by financing studies and activities to strengthen the capacity to respond to natural disasters.
The World Bank through the IBRD - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - some examples
2014 Tanzania Water Sector Support Project
2013 Costal Watersheds Conservation Project
2011 Jamaica Energy Security Enhancement Project
2009 China (PRC) Wenchuan Earthquake Recovery Project
2006 Tsunami Disaster Recovery in India
2006 Haiti - Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Project
post Tropical Storm Jeanne (2004)
2005 Philippines - Natural disaster risk management
Doing Business
The projects and studies of the World Bank provide many opportunities for Canadian companies to do business internationally.
Canada's Dept. of Foreign Affairs has a section on their website providing an overview of the steps a company must take to be involved with World Bank projects
re: IRAQ
The origins of the World Bank's IBRD - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development , lies in the rebuilding after the Second World War 1939-1945.
The dramatic way in which the U.S. and British Army were able to conquer the Iraqi forces loyal to Saddam, was quicker than expected, and by the second week of April 2003 the IMF and the World Bank began to issue statements about how they were going to be involved in rebuilding Iraq.
It is interesting for people studying International Business, and learning about NGOs like the World Bank, to see what happens with the World Bank involvement in Iraqi since it will provide examples of how this particular NGO works and the benefits and challenges that are involved.





The head of the World Bank has launched a public relations campaign to position his institution to be involved in the rebuilding or Iraq - but the Americans, which think of the World Bank as siding to much with the Europeans, disagree.

The Americans think they should play the lead role since they are the ones who put their army into Iraq and suffered the majority of the losses to bring about the regime change.




.click to read larger view
see also
This article, written by Martin Crutsinger for  Associated Press, was written April 11th, 2003, the day after the statue of Saddam was pulled down in Bagdad - an event seen around the world - an event that caused many people to express opinions on what would happen in the new Iraq.

It is valuable to read this article because it demonstrates how there is conflict between the World Bank and some of the large countries that have political and economic "agendas".

Update - April 2006 - 3 years later, the World Bank is not so interested in Iraq due to the inability to bring peace to the region


World Bank Lobbying

Since the World Bank is often involved in helping countries recover from war, or some environmental disaster. Many times the recover focuses on restoring agriculture in the effected region. Agricultural exports are often key to sustaining most economies.

Agricultural exports are tough to do in a competitive world effected by OECD nations that subsidize their farmers.

The World Bank has taken a position on this issue.
"World Bank urges developed nations to cut agriculture subsidies" 
(link still live Apr 2006)

"Representatives from the World Bank [Aug 2002] urged the developed countries to cut their subsidies in agriculture, saying the subsidy element is a "major deterrent" to the development of all nations, especially the developing world."

"Ian Johnson, World Bank vice president for sustainable development, made the remarks [Aug 2002] while outlining the World Bank's agenda of priorities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) ... Each year, 350 billion US dollars of taxpayer's money in the North are used as subsidies for agriculture, "preventing the Southfrom meeting its own obligations of agriculture," he told reporters..."



World Bank wasting money ?

As reported in , and appearing in the British medical journal The Lancet ; April 2006, 

"According to a group of health experts, the World Bank published bogus financial and statistical accounts and squandered money on useless malaria treatment. The World Bank says the accusations are unfounded. "

The authors of the accusation, Prof. Amir Attaran (University of Ottawa) and colleagues say that since 2000, the World Bank has:

   o Hidden how much it spends on malaria
   o Not kept its promise of $300-500 million for malaria control in Africa
   o Reduced its number of malaria experts from 7 to zero not long after pledging 
         to focus more on the disease
   o Exaggerated its performance by inventing bogus epidemiological statistics
   o Backed treatments in India which The World Health Organization said 
         were obsolete and should not be done

The report suggests that as the World Bank has no experts left, it should hand over $1 billion to other organizations which do have them, such as the Global Fund for AIDS

Dr. Amir Attaran is a lawyer and immunologist (DPhil, Oxford) who writes on public health and global development issues. He serves as an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health, and Global Development Policy, University of Ottawa. 
Copies of emails regarding Attaran giving permission to quote are kept in the permissions binder.



Malaria is caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes 
Associated Press explains that Malaria "..kills more than 1 million people a year, many of them young children in Africa, even though it is both preventable and treatable. As much as 40% of the world's population is at risk, mostly in poor countries, the World Health Organization said."

The World Bank disputed many of the criticisms in the article by Attaran et al, acknowledging that its malaria programs have been understaffed and underfunded but insisting that the bank has learned from its mistakes and moved to set things right.

World Bank officials insisted that the Attaran piece was "old news" and said that the bank will commit as much as $1 billion to the global fight against malaria worldwide with other partners in the next five years with as much as half directed to Africa. While last year [2005] the bank had no one dedicated to the disease which was noted in the report now at least 40 people are working on malaria-related projects.



Damage control ?
- below is a screen capture from the World Bank's web page the day after the Attaran report was carried by all major media agencies



Why is the World Bank controversial? This clip features 
Sebastian Mallaby,
well known columnist with the Washington Post
Feb 2008 the link was at



One of the things that is challenging in teaching international business is to explain a topic and avoid saying whether it is right or wrong. 

Sometimes right and wrong is a matter of personal opinion and depends on your personal social-cultural circumstances. Sometimes wrong is just wrong when it comes to pollution and saving life.

In the case of these large NGO's like the World Bank, IMF, OECD etc., some people have some very strong opinions against these organizations. To provide students with some balance from what they may read about on the World Bank site, I offer below one example of some of the negative opinions of the World Bank as found on the site 

from April 2006

"5. The World Bank's emphasis on expanding exports has been disastrous for the environment. As part of the standard structural adjustment package, the World Bank encourages countries to expand their exports so they will have more hard currency (dollars, yen) to make payments on their foreign debts. But this leads countries to overexploit their natural resources. They cut down their forests, which contributes to the greenhouse effect. They pump chemicals onto their land to produce export crops such as coffee, tea and tobacco, thus poisoning their land and water. They rip minerals out of the ground at a frantic pace, endangering human lives and the environment in the process. They overfish coastal and international waters, depleting a resource of the global commons."

emails for permission to quote from, are kept in the permissions binder



World Bank funded Projects

The World Banks institutions,  the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development  and the International Development Association, are involved in many activities across the globe. For example, the World Bank funds construction of schools and hospitals for countries effected by disasters, like the war in Iraq or the Tsunami. Who constructs these buildings ? - often it is North American or European construction companies in combination with local partners.  

In C44 you are required for the Mid-Term to research a Canadian company involved in int'l business. During the course of your research you should see if any activities related to some of the circumstances of the World Bank. 

For example, is there a Canadian food exporter sending food to some situation in another country receiving World bank funding? Is there a Canadian communications company supplying services to some U.N. agency that is responding to a disaster recovery situation which is being funding by the World Bank?

Read the newspaper throughout the term to learn of stories like this you can also search such stories looking in the news releases section of the websites of larger companies.


read also