The World Bank

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. 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. 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.