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World Bank

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The World Bank is an international institution, owned by about 180 member countries, that provides financial and technical assistance to developing nations. In that mission, the World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants for education, health, infrastructure, communications and other purposes. In 2005, the World Bank employed 9,300 people. The origins of the World Bank can be traced to the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 and the establishment of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) soon after. The IBRD remains one of the two key components of the World Bank and focuses on assisting middle income and creditworthy poor countries. The other main component of the World Bank, the International Development Association (IDA), focuses on helping the poorest nations. The World Bank can be distinguished from the World Bank Group, which, besides the IBRD and the IDA, includes the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Importantly, the World Bank Group does not encompass the International Monetary Fund, although their activities are not infrequently intertwined.

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