What is International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a mission of reducing poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries. This task is accomplished when the organization promotes sustainable development through loans, guarantees, risk management products, and analytical and advisory services. The organization was established in 1944 in an attempt to assist Europe in recovering from the financial devastation of World War II. It is the original institution of the World Bank Group, and counts itself among the five members. The IBRD has a membership of 185 countries.
The Bretton Woods system was charged with developing and implementing the rules and regulations for global commercial and financial transactions. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established as a result. It was the first effort at creating a system that would govern monetary relations among independent nation-states. It was the first effort at creating a system that would govern monetary relations among independent nation-states.
There was much growth and change in national and international financial systems in the 20th century. During the postwar period, many countries had the opportunity to experience economic growth, low unemployment, and gradual deregulation in their respective financial markets. Positive steps were taken to change the way business was done through acts such as the emergence of the European Union, the North America Free Trade Agreement, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. In addition, international institutions such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank for International Settlements have assisted in the management of the changes that have occurred in the international financial arena.
All of the efforts mentioned above have been an attempt to produce a sound international financial system that will be able to sustain itself over the years. The establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank is probably one of the most important success stories for international economic cooperation. During the last 60 years, there have been many changes in terms of the political and economic climate on a global level, which has caused the worlds top international financial institutions to shift in terms of how they operate their businesses. Given the number of financial crises that have surfaced during the last 10 years, many scholars and practitioners in the field have called for reform in how the international financial system is structured. These crises have exposed the weaknesses in the international financial system as well as highlighted the fact that globalization has pros (benefits) and cons (risks).
The IBRD has been given the challenge of raising the bulk of the funds for the worlds financial markets. In addition, the agency has become one of the most established borrowers since issuing its first bond in 1947. Through its funding activities, the IBRD has become an entity fully capable of providing financial resources to sustain its existence, which allows it to borrow at low cost and offer clients good borrowing terms.
Although the IBRD provides a solid foundation for the World Bank Group, there are four other member organizations that complete the structure for the group. These organizations are the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is responsible for securing private sector investments for high-risk sectors and countries and was established in 1956; the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which supports developing countries by providing political risk insurance to investors and lenders and was established in 1988; the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which is responsible for settling disputes that arise between foreign investors and host countries and was established in 1966; and the International Development Association (IDA), which was established in 1960 and partners with the IBRD to ensure that the poorest countries in the world receive assistance in turning their economy around. It is important to note that the five agencies collectively are referenced as the “World Bank Group,” whereas the title of “World Bank” only refers to IBRD and IDA.
Highlights
Although it has been given the name “World Bank,” the IBRD is not a bank. Rather, it is a specialized entity with the responsibility of accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals. These goals were established by the United Nations in 2000 as an initiative to reduce the level of poverty throughout the world (i.e., increase school enrollments, decrease child mortality, improve maternal healthcare services, control and eliminate disease levels, and provide access to water by the year 2015). In addition, the agency’s activities are monitored by the 185 members who control how the organization is financed and how the money is spent. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and there are approximately 109 offices around the world.
One of the most attractive features of the organization is its ability to offer flexible borrowing terms to developing countries. The IBRD’s lending policies tend to allow these countries to have more time to repay loans (i.e., 15-20 years to repay the loan as well as a three-to-five-year grace period before payment begins). These terms tend to be more favorable than a commercial bank, which is why the IBRD has been a key factor in developing countries fueling their economic growth. The “World Bank finances these loans through its own funding, which yields billions of dollars each year. Its bonds have an AAA credit rating as a result of the loans being secured by the member states’ share capital and borrowers’ sovereign guarantees.
The World Bank partners with countries to enforce anticorruption initiatives and has created a structure that prevents corruption and fraud in projects.