- noun the central bank, controlled by the United Nations, whose funds come from the member states of the UN and which lends money to member states. The official title of the World Bank is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The World Bank was created in 1944. It consists of two major international organizations: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. Together with the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, they form the World Bank Group. The Group's mission is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in the developing world. The group is effectively a development bank that provides loans, policy advice, technical assistance and knowledge-sharing services to low- and middle-income countries to reduce poverty. It is the world's largest external source of funding for education and HIV/AIDS programmes.
Its shareholders are nations, with votes proportionate to their gross domestic products and it has a Board of Governors made up of national directors (usually ministers of member states). It has major interests in investing in health care facilities in the third world and in measuring international inequalities in health, health care and health care financing.