Over the past generation, more progress has been made in reducing poverty and raising living standards than during any other period in history. In developing countries, life expectances have increased from 55 to 64 years, Income per person has doubled and Infant Mortality has been reduced by 50 percent.
Despite the successes, massive development challenges remain. Three billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day and 1.3 billion live on less than one dollar a day. Over 40,000 people die each day from preventable disease. 130 million never have the opportunity to go to school and 1.3 billion do not have clean drinking water. By allowing poverty to increase in developing countries this can adversely affect wealthier nations as markets and investments opportunities shrink, the environment is damaged and people migrate in search of work and income.
The World Bank is helping countries to strengthen and sustain the fundamental conditions they need to attract and retain private investment. With World Bank support financial and nonfinancial governments are reforming their overall economies and strengthening banking systems. They are investing in human resources, infrastructure, and environment protection which enhances the attractiveness and productivity of private investment.
The World Bank Group
The World Bank Group comprises five organizations: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The term World Bank refers to only IBRD and IDA.The World Bank is the largest provider of development assistance to developing countries and countries in transition, committing about $20 billion in new loans each year. Its main focus is to help people in developing countries raise their standards of living through finance for agriculture, schools, health programs, transportation and other essential needs.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are the private sector affiliates of the World Bank Group. IFC supports private enterprise in the developing world through loan and equity financing. MIGA facilit...
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...levant to its objectives and sponsors a number of publications. These include multi-volume collections of Investment Laws and of Investment Treaties, which are periodically updated by ICSID staff. Since April 1986, the Centre has published a semi-annual law journal entitled ICSID Review--Foreign Investment Law Journal.
A New Bank for 2000
As we move into the new millennium, the Bank has embarked on a strategic compact with its clients and shareholders to improve the quality of its assistance, by:
· Helping the poorest countries reduce their debt burden so they can fund development initiatives instead of interest payments
· Helping fight corruption that undermines economic growth
· Helping developing countries to adopt modern communication technologies and skills so they can be more competitive
· Strengthening and reforming banking systems and financial sectors that would help avoid future crises such as those in Mexico in 1994-95 and East Asia in 1997-98
· Meeting the future food needs of a growing population and paying more attention to agricultural and rural development
· Ensuring development is consistent with the social and cultural needs of beneficiaries
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